Match Wits With Professor Layton

I’ve been playing Professor Layton and the Curious Village on my Nintendo DS. It's a very addicting puzzle game. Here’s the trailer…

There are over 100 puzzles in this game, from simple riddles to chess games to jigsaw puzzles. A famous riddle that appears in the game is this: “If A is the first letter, and B comes after, what is the last letter of the alphabet?” Of course, you immediately answer “Z,” which is incorrect. Because the question's really about the last letter of the word "alphabet" and not the 26 letters.

I was really stuck on another one where I had to create a + on a field of pegs. Given the parameters, it seemed impossible. Until I realized that if I tipped the + on its side to make an X, the problem was workable.

What does this have to do with advertising? Almost without exception, the puzzles in this game are solved by looking at the problem from another angle. They’re deliberately phrased to make you assume one thing, but it’s not until you see past those presumptions that you’re able to crack the code.

Like approaching a new assignment, you go in with some presumptions. Like you can’t do award-winning work on packaged goods. Or the client never buys humor. Or the answer is a full-page print ad. Or any kind of an ad.

Presumptions. Scrap them. Ignore them. Pay them no mind. That’s what Professor Layton does.