âSine qua nonâ means âwithout which, nothingâ
One of the things every planner knows is Maslowâs Hierarchy of Needs.
Itâs a simple chart: a pyramid.
It describes what a human being needs for survival at various stages.
First is the bottom layer: âPhysiologicalâ.
This is the basics, which most charts list as: Food. Water. Shelter.
After theyâve got that they move to the second layer, âSafetyâ: Security. Freedom from fear.
After that, they move up to the next layer, âBelongingâ: Friends. Family.
Once they have that they go to the next layer up, âSelf-esteemâ: Recognition. Respect.
Finally, after theyâve got everything else, they reach the final level, Self-actualisation: Fulfilment.
According to Maslow, thatâs the final goal.
But of course you canât just jump to the top of the pyramid, you have to work your way up.
You canât have Self Actualisation unless you have Self Esteem.
And you canât have Self Esteem unless you have a feeling of Belonging.
And Belonging isnât important until you have Freedom From Fear.
And Freedom From Fear canât happen without the basics, usually listed as: Food, Water, Shelter.
So the first row, the most basic, is the âsine qua nonâ – without which nothing.
If you donât get level one handled you canât move up to level two.
So that seems pretty obvious, a no-brainer.
In most versions of that chart Iâve seen, level one is listed as: Food, Water, Shelter.
The most basic physical requirements for life.
Itâs typical of the academic mind to make an assumption.
To assume something is so obvious itâs taken for granted.
But when my kids were born I did a St Johnâs Ambulance course.
I learned basic first aid so that, if I needed to, I could keep my kids alive until I could get them to hospital.
The main thing they taught me was: attend to their breathing before anything else.
Youâve got a chance of keeping them alive as long as theyâre breathing.
If theyâre not breathing it doesnât matter how many bandages or splints you put on.
No breathing = no life.
But most versions of the chart Iâve seen donât have breathing as the first, most basic, level of Maslowâs Hierarchy of Needs.
Most versions Iâve seen just assume breathing, itâs taken for granted.
Making assumptions is what academics do.
There are a lot of academics working in advertising.
They make the assumption that people will notice whatever ad we run.
They take it as given.
So they only ever focus on the stuff higher up the pyramid.
But if the advertising doesnât get noticed nothing else can happen.
Everything has to happen inside the consumers mind.
And if we donât get noticed we wonât get into their mind.
And we know most advertising doesnât get noticed.
So all that academic work higher up the pyramid is wasted.
Thatâs why I think the creative dept should leave the strategy to the marketing dept, the strategists.
I think the creative dept needs to remember its job: to make sure the advertising gets seen and noticed.
Sine qua non.