Defying Gravity

This article was originally published in partnership with BXP Magazine.

When it comes to agency-client partnerships, not all agencies are created equal. A special set of skills are required to create truly original designs that connect with the consumer and improve the future of the brand. That’s challenging today, when every idea seems to have been “done.” The question is; how are truly breakthrough ideas born?

According to Steven Johnson, who wrote a book on the subject, “Good ideas come from the collision of smaller hunches.” To make that happen, you need a space where ideas can mingle and swap. Where, for example, edgy fashion trends collide with everyday products. Where a metal dress inspires metallic packaging for a luxury product. In a conversation with Gravity, a branding and design firm based in Cincinnati, Ohio, we discussed a method to generate the unexpected.

Great ideas drive engagement
Says Chuck Rovito, VP of Creative Services, “Brand teams are looking for more than good, safe creative. You can understand why. The war for attention is intense, especially with the increase in digital platforms. Competition is fierce. Without disruptive approaches, brands get lost in the mix. So, Gravity’s culture enables idea generation. We even created a lab for this purpose.”

The Newton—where ideas flourish
Says Rovito, “You must have an environment where it’s safe to take off the handcuffs, dig into the problem and look at every possibility, from all angles. That’s why we created the Newton – named after Sir Isaac Newton. It’s a collaborative space where we nurture ideas that not only push the boundaries of everyday thinking but allow us to uncover the unseen, much like Newton did when he discovered gravity. We research the category, but we take inspiration from other industries too. You discover surprising connections when you mix oil and water — like new metaphors for your brand, or a personality that’s hiding in plain sight. We challenge ourselves, question reality and turn our own assumptions upside down — in the pursuit of true brand attraction.”

How it works
“Here’s an example,” says Rovito. “A big box store gave us a challenge. Their store brand pizza wasn’t reaching Millennials. The question arose; what does this generation look for when choosing a pizza? The answer? Flavorful ingredients. You see the same thing in their choice of beer. They like craft brands and their boldly playful attitude. So why not create a pizza with an attitude? When our internal team explored these ideas, they came up with an inspired name for the product: ‘Hangry Tomato.’ The client embraced the focus on ingredients and the rebellious personality. Visual explorations landed on a cartoonish, big talking tomato that told the story loud and bold. We extended this approach to varieties, such as The Big Clucker (chicken sausage) and the Dynamic Duo (meatball and pepperoni).

Adds Rovito, “The launch exceeded projections, and the brand has moved forward with additional SKUs and flavor profiles, each bearing its own cast of illustrated characters.”

Stay tuned for more on Gravity
Look for more about Gravity in upcoming issues of BXP. In addition to a passion for solving brand challenges and implementing breakthrough ideas, this agency is uniquely positioned for speed-to-market. Being the creative division of Phototype, a global pre-media firm, they have the ability to streamline processes and get ideas to shelf in a fluid, but agile manner, all on one campus. Next issue, we’ll hear more about how they make it happen and the value this delivers to their shared clients.

Chuck Rovito
Vice President
Published: 10.27.18