The Creativity of Elephants

For a long time now I’ve asked people to draw me an Elephant. With their eyes closed.

Go on do it now. All you need is a pen and blank piece of paper and draw yourself a glorious Elephant.

I’ll wait.

I’ve got that YouTube series on disillusion to catch up on. No rush.


Look on an admire it. How'd you do? Which way did you draw it? Sideways? Facing which way? How'd you find the experience?

Okay. So what’s the deal with Elephants?

Nothing really. It is just something fun. It could be anything you want really. The exercise isn’t about unlocking a new way of thinking. It isn’t a life hack or based on some research about associating Elephants with brain power.

It is just fun. Sometimes our creativity doesn’t need to have meaning. It can be irreverent and a little bit pointless.

But wait Daniel, aren’t you always on about creating value for our audiences?

Yes, and I still believe that. However, the value doesn’t have to be the creative execution but what comes from it. The creative is just the trigger, that trigger can create actions or feelings and those are what should be of value.

When I draw Elephants with people it isn’t the output that matters, it’s the shared moment of fun that comes from it that is the value. In fact I doubt anyone has ever kept their drawing and put it up on the wall. People have kept the process, the little moment of fun and done it with others.

Our adverts themselves don’t always need to be worthy, what they create with our audiences should be. The interaction, the shared moment is where the value lies.

That’s when I talk about value with our audiences it is looking at the moments of value. That could be the creative itself but also from the feelings and reactions it creates.

To do this though you have to think of that reaction, that interaction and what we want the audience to feel or do. We can’t just create a beautiful script without thinking of what is it going to leave without our audience and more importantly what will they do next.

Sometimes agencies hide behind a great execution. A crafted great bit of story telling.

They put all that value into the execution and forget the value that it can create. Don’t make the object the most valuable part of the campaign. Make the take out, the experience and the feeling we create the important bit.

The world is full of stories, so what added value can we bring when it is an advert?

Like me and my Elephants. The value for me is the interaction. The big idea is for me a shared experience. The execution is just an Elephant.

So let's look at the value we can creative with our audiences, not just what we present to them.

Daniel Fox-Evans
Creative Director


Elephant Illustration Icon - Elephant by Nicolas Ramallo from the Noun Project