I hear it from my teenager, “Dad’s watching YouTube again!”

Seriously though… it’s for work! In addition to the free entertainment (well, free until I’m accidentally inspired to make a purchase), I find that viewing a handful of clever ads gets the creative — and competitive — juices flowing.

While it’s tempting to look at the competition, we always caution against doing so. At least in the beginning when your expanding and exploring your options. Save the competitive analysis for later on once you’ve generated a solid set of strategic options. Second, when seeking inspiration, look as far afield as possible – at the polar opposite of the channel or medium you’ll be using. For example, when I’m developing pitch decks for investor roadshows, I often invest a portion of my time watching creative advertising videos. For the uninitiated, the Webby’s are a good place to look.

Voting for the 2018 Webby Awards for this year’s top ads just wrapped up on Youtube here.  Below are a few favorite areas to look out for:

  • We love this project management app. Could we use it A LOT MORE? Of course. And somehow I’m inspired to a little bit more every time this ad runs across my screen (*skip to 0:06 for audible satisfaction/inspiration).
  • A reassuring and inspiring category to watch are the repeats, retreads and redux of a once first-of-its-kind, now well worn creative. For example, who thought anyone could top the JetBlue safety video, until Virgin America’s and now the Turkish Airlines Lego version?
  • Another competitive comparison that continues to inspire are the mattress-in-a-box direct-to-consumer companies: Purple vs. Nectar. I love a good creative showdown, and this one doesn’t disappoint.

Developing creative strategies for sales teams, unique product offerings or the overarching brand narrative requires that you appreciate what the state-of-the-art is and understand the competition. Just don’t copy it.