Adweek Diary: Eastern

Sawtooth Inventor Not Afraid of Anything
Marc Marsan, president of the Sawtooth Invention Co., Cincinnati, is launching a general interest self-help book, Who Are You When No One Is Looking?, and a Web site based upon some of the tools his firm uses to create marketing ideas.
The Sawtooth Invention Co. is the “idea generation unit” of the Woodbridge, N.J., ad agency The Sawtooth Group.
The book explores in-depth a concept Marsan calls “brain wedgies.” In terms of marketing, these exercises involve “thinking in shocking terms” to create new products, categories or advertising ideas. “Everything else is [merely] incrementalism,” Marsan believes.
Perhaps his most famous (and most bizarre) brain wedgie research experiment took place three years ago. While working on a secret project for a major feminine care product client, Marsan decided he could truly only understand the field properly if he wore a sanitary napkin himself. So, in the hope of being able to conduct a more meaningful all-female focus group session, he wore a pad for five consecutive hours, for five consecutive days. “I had to give myself a brain wedgie to experience the [sanitary pad] hassle,” he said.
When it comes to packaged goods, Marsan explained, consumers often have to be shown how unsatisfactory their current product is.
“Thinking like an inventor,” said the inventor who is a son of an inventor, “can improve and add meaning to your life.”