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How the humble mince pie is a rule-breaker

by | Nov 27, 2020

Here’s some rule-breaking –1600’s style.

I discovered this brilliant fact about the humble mince pie today and love how it demonstrates human ingenuity, creativity and rule-breaking.

The mince pie has a long history. Did you know that the original pies were large and shaped like a manger, usually filled with minced mutton and spices?

The Christmas pie became frowned upon by the puritan authorities, and it was banned as it was considered it to be Catholic ‘idolatry’ in the 1600’s.

So, in order to get around the rules the pies became much smaller – to the size we know them today. And over time became filled with fruit and spice fillings.

I must confess that I’m not a mince pie lover, but I love the history and creativity behind this festive tradition. Rule-breaking is a tried and tested creative technique. More proof? Read on!

Business for Punks – the rule-breaking manifesto

In Business for Punks: break all the rules – the Brewdog Way, James Watt, co-founder of the company explains how this small Scottish craft beer has had startling growth due to the irreverence and controversy at the heart of its brand.

Brewdog uses stunts to generate media coverage and outshout its competitors. These include packaging a 55 per cent alcohol beer in stuffed road kill animals, and parking a tank outside the Bank of England. They employed a dwarf to petition for a two-thirds pint measure and named a drink after the drugs cocktail that killed Hollywood star River Phoenix. Watt says:

“Put your conscience and morals in a drawer, lock it, throw away the key and join the revolution” (FT.com)

Traditional advertising? No thanks!

Eschewing traditional advertising to market their products, Watt told Marketing Magazine in 2013: “I would rather take my money and set fire to it. It’s the antithesis of everything we stand for and everything we believe in. It’s a medium that is shallow, it’s fake and we want nothing to do with it.”

If you like its rule-breaking ethos, you can invest in the company via its innovative and unconventional Equity for Punks scheme*. Yes, Brewdog were early adopters of crowd funding.

Our Creativity in PR report has highlighted how big a part fear of failure plays in holding great ideas back. In-house PRs said that courage was one of the three biggest drivers of great PR. And they also said that their bosses’ unwillingness to try anything risky stopped more adventurous ideas.

Over two-thirds of agencies, meanwhile, agreed that their clients’ play-it-safe attitude was a barrier to delivering great work. (Holmes Report & Now Go Create Creativity in PR Report).

If you want to shake up your creative thinking, sign up for some innovation training with Now Go Create. We’ll even thrown in some rule-breaking for good measure 🙂

* Update for 2022: Equity for Punks is now closed… after raking in more than £30m!

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