top of page

Creative Persuasion from the Ideas Foundation


Creativity saves lives. Arguably it's been the effectiveness of the government communication campaigns that have helped people get the message to stay home. The ambiguity of the slogan Stay Alert – shows too how difficult it is to get messaging right. Creativity through the memes, Tik Toks, during the COVID 19 crisis, the Netflix shows have shown clearly how creativity is key to our mental health … and how creativity can thrive in lockdown even with relatively few resources apart from an iPad and mobile phone.

But despite the importance of creativity, there have been challenges for the advertising industries recently. Some agencies are shedding jobs and furloughing staff - especially those that are not digital and rely on advertising travel and airline companies. Agencies that are thriving are worrying about how they will get a pipeline of creative ideas and recruit talent from a greater range of social and ethnic backgrounds.

The Elephant in the Diversity room is outlined in an article by Lisa Thompson for the Institute of Practitioners in Advertising (IPA). She quotes that 27% of the industry has gone to private school compared to 7 % of the UK Population (You Gov, 2020) This is so sad as some of the most creative young people I have come across have attended schools in working-class areas in Salford, West Cumbria and North Yorkshire. These young people have a natural diversity of thought needed not just in the creative industries but in all sectors of industry if we are to have an innovation-led recovery. Yet, many don't know that they can use their humour, originality, and communication skills as a basis for a career.

Another major problem has been how to get creativity into the classroom. English teachers have been complaining that their subject has been made dull and formulaic. Numbers enrolling for art and design courses have been in decline.

The ideas Foundation has been working to educate a new creative class. We are doing this in different ways.

The Creative Persuasion resources use inspirational adverts from Nike and John Lewis to help students look and think critically as they watch adverts. A short video, The Making of an Idea, made with Adam&EveDBB, explains the behind the scenes process and roles in adland. All have been mapped in partnership with the National Association for the Teaching of English to support the secondary English curriculum but can also be used in primary schools and within media studies courses.

Live Briefs. With a post-COVID emphasis on core subjects such as English and the need for online and blended learning resources, the Ideas Foundation has published a series of live creative briefs. The briefs from companies such as the BBC, Spesavers, Warburtons, Canon provide an insight into a brand, and a sector. They find the sweet spot between English, Careers, Creativity and Employer Engagement. The briefs relating to online bullying, health, artificial intelligence can also be used in other subjects including PSE and media studies.

The resources are available on the

The Ideas Foundation and National Association for the Teaching of English pages. There are additional presentations on how to come up with ideas, careers in creativity, how to present and pitch ideas that are ideal not just for English but for other subjects.

Imaging for Good is a digital storytelling project that The Ideas Foundation is working on with Canon. Top Canon photographers and film-makers such as Clive Booth and Simeon Quarries have created online resources that explain the art and craft of creating compelling stories. The goal of the programme is to show how images and films can give young people a voice and core communication and technical skills. Students are encouraged to create stories that relate to the UN Global Goals.

The AR Adventure in Space and Octaland series is another fun and free way to get young people thinking about careers and also seeing the way creative industries are supporting #edtech. The Ideas Foundation has been working with Octagon Studio, who uses augmented reality to help students think about careers.

Engineer the Story funded by the Royal Academy of Engineering Ingenious programme is an example of another programme that we have developed which helps scientists and engineers explain their careers to young people.

Training events – we are planning to host a training event for teachers and careers leads about the creative industries. We have helped the IPA and the Creative Industry Federation with events such as the Creative Careers Weeks and Advertising Unlocked.

The Ideas Foundation has won awards for its work promoting diversity and creative careers. These include the Major Players Diversity Award in 2019 and the Creative Floor Award for three successive years.

The Ideas Foundation charity has been delivering face to face workshops and employer encounters for nearly 20 years. The charity is led by Heather MacRae, a member of the CDI and a trained careers advisor.

The charity started in Hackney and now have programmes running across the country including Burberry Inspire initiative in Yorkshire. We usually base ourselves at Ogilvy and Mather at Sea Containers House but like many other organisations have been remote working.

Working with our creative industry partners, we will be offering more online experiences providing insights into the way that the creative sector is changing and adapting to the new normal. The art of communication and the power of effective slogans like Stay Home, Save Lives has been a talking point during recent months. We believe that it’s important that students understand the art of persuasion and how what seems to be a simple campaign can employ hundreds of people from copywriters, to social media community managers, to media planners.

Get in touch if you would like to be involved in nurturing creativity. As a charity we believe that ideas can come from anyone, anywhere. We want to change the face of the creative industries and make them more inclusive. We know that working on industry-led creative communication projects builds key employability and soft communication skills needed for the 21st century as well as meeting the Gatsby benchmarks.

In addition to resources on our website, you can also access the creative toolkit produced by Leeds Cultural Education Partnership on

and the Creative Industry Federation site

Check out our website or contact us on or follow us on Twitter @ideasfoundation.

96 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All

NFER: T Levels results

Friday 19 August 2022 This Op-Ed was first published in FE Week on 18 August 2022 We are delighted to see the results for the first three T Levels in Construction, Digital and Education & Childcare. T

Ofsted: EIF September 2022

The education inspection framework (EIF) – looking ahead to September 2022 - Ofsted: schools and further education & skills (FES) ( Looks at: Covid 19 Transitional arrangements Changes to


bottom of page