Will Burns

Heat Case

Heat Advertising


Immersion learning

This brand idea happened, well, by surprise. Having nearly a decade of new business experience at Arnold, I was hired by Heat to go through their pitch materials and provide advice and criticism on their materials. I quickly learned that Heat was a wildly creative shop and not only with the customer facing work, but often with their approach. Well, while reviewing one of their RFP submissions I noticed a line on some random page that said their work was “Smart and surprising.” Having been going through their web site, their pitch presentations, their work and other RFPs, this line stuck me as more than just a line.

Key insight: Heat did produce work that was, in fact surprising, but more than that everything they did was a little surprising. Surprising brand planning stunts, surprising strategies, surprising media strategies. Everything.

the ideas

Unlike other brand idea assignments, getting to a brand idea was not the assignment in this case. But it came out anyway in my best practices analysis, as described above. The Heat team took the “surprise” concept and ran with it, ultimately leading to “We believe in the power of surprise.”


None, in this case.


From Heat’s “About” page on their site.

From Heat’s “About” page on their site.

This idea was fully adopted by Heat. Inspired, they immediately started transforming their web site around the “surprise” concept—new copy, new videos, rewriting their case studies.

Just two years after implementing this transformation, Heat was purchased by Deloitte, who was shopping around to several agencies at the time. The reason Heat was chosen?

Deloitte liked the fact that Heat had a clear position in the marketplace with the “surprise” idea. Boom!