Change and challenges are catnip to those in creative industries, and that includes content marketing. But content marketing is still a job and like any job, it comes with unchallenging tasks and boring asks.

To be fair, any job will become boring on day 3 756 of doing the same thing. Again and again. Good grief, not the same old trick with the knife-throwing again. Eyeroll.

There are a surprising number of ways in which a creative job can become boring. Repetition is just one of them. Even when it’s a new brief, the product itself can be boring. Grout, anyone?

Another form of boredom is brought on by the strat that just won’t go away. The product was brilliant (Barbie!) and your ideas sparkled … in 2019. Now it’s your own personal Jason. Just when you thought it’s over, it comes back with a vengeance like yet another instalment of Friday the 13th. Or perhaps you’ve been the default writer for a client’s social media for the past five years and can now #doitinyoursleep. (Which you often do.)

Let’s be honest, though. Very few things are brand-spanking new. Creativity is often a matter of connecting the dots in a completely new way. Walks in nature and stepping away from your computer are great, but if you’re on deadline and/or are afraid that you might simply keep walking, it really helps to just make a start. Put down whatever comes into your head, however uninspired and dull. Before you know it, you’ll realise that you’re onto something.

That same old strategy and pitch deck you’ve been reworking since 2019 could also be a great source of ideas for another client. Because connecting dots in a new way.

Thinking inside the box

As much as “out-of-the-box thinking” is thrown around in briefing sessions, things like budgets invariably puts the thinking back in the box. And that’s not a bad thing.

Many of us do our most creative work when we have limitations. Having no boundaries is the creative equivalent of having too much choice in a supermarket. It is simply overwhelming to be confronted with gazillion types of peas – petit pois, minty, mushy, organic, premium organic GMO-free, heirloom, harvested at night by the light of fireflies – when all you want are good old garden variety peas.

Boring becomes less boring and more of an interesting challenge when viewed as just another guardrail for your thinking. Along with things like the budget, the deadline, the client’s “risk appetite” and their overall marketing strategy.

Examples of brilliant content marketing for boring products

These two campaigns could so easily have been humdrum and beige, but weren’t. Instead, they show that it’s okay to have a boring product as long as your content marketing isn’t.


In the late 2000s Blendtec’s founder, Tom Dickson, wanted a campaign to show that their blenders are very powerful and built to last. Nothing unusual there, but what’s sexy about a food blender, right? For a laugh, he began reducing all kinds of things to powder or pulp in a Blendtec blender. The first video in the Will It Blend? series was posted in 2006 with Tom pulverising marbles in his blender and it went viral before going viral was a thing.

Within months, brands were offering to pay to have their products blended. An iPhone. A Nike running shoe. A stormtrooper. But top honours – with 19 million views – goes to an iPad that was blended in 2010. The last Will It Blend? video was posted in 2020, but within six years of starting, the campaign had increased sales by 800%.


Dove beauty bars have been around since the 1950s and initially the advertising focused on the fact that it won’t dry out your skin. Even though they never called it soap, it was seen as and sold as a body soap.

Then, in 2004, Dove launched their Real Beauty campaign after realising that women were increasingly unhappy with the way their bodies looked. They wanted to show what women really look like – not models and celebrities that make everyone else feel not thin enough, not young enough, not pretty enough.

Nearly 20 years on this strategy has, in various iterations, helped Dove to create a worldwide community that are happy to provide user-generated content, for example for their #BeautyStory campaign, share hashtags and buy their beauty bars. By tapping into and championing women’s issues in all spheres of life, Dove has developed a moral campaign rather than a marketing campaign.

How the 2Stories team gets out of the doldrums

“I have a sand timer on my desk that I turn over and then commit to spending 20 minutes on that task. No distractions, no other tabs, no email, no Slack, nothing that doesn't relate to that task. After the initial bump, it usually goes easier. And 20 minutes isn’t that long.”

  • Linda Scarborough

“I allow myself some ‘controlled procrastination’ and give myself 10 minutes to consume content that’s completely different and related to a topic I find exciting. My go-tos are Vogue, The Atlantic and The New Yorker. I usually find a ton of things I want to read that won’t fit into my procrastination window, so I bookmark them to read later as a reward for completing the boring task.”

  • Bianca Hartel

“If I’m stuck I do ‘easier’ tasks that I can get out of the way quickly first. The combination of feeling that I’ve accomplished something and not being able to avoid the boring task any longer usually works. And making tea, lots and lots of tea.”

  • Shereen Goosen

“If I’m really struggling to get my head in the game, I do something that I don’t find exciting at all but that’s been weighing on my mind – quick five- or 10-minute tasks. It could be answering that email that’s fallen down the queue or hanging up the washing or putting the dishes away. It’s mundane enough and strangely therapeutic. I let my mind think about my work task while I’m doing it, and once I sit back down, it’ll just click.”

  • Nikita Buxton

“I play Tetris or Wordle or any of the NY Times games when I’m in a rut. Nerdy but it helps me.” – Anelde Greeff

“What works for me is listening to a quick kick-ass song or reading a great article from one of the newsletters I receive, but can’t normally get to. Then I’m back and ready to roll. A little motivational self-talk also helps and I tell myself, ‘Okay, cool, let’s go/let’s do this/you can do this!’”

  • Kelda Lund