Working as a copywriter and later CD in Germany, I lead quite a few major pitches. Once my team received the brief, the first thing they did was grab all the available Luerzer Archives and annuals. And for the next few days, all the creative power was wasted on rummaging through old annuals, trying to be inspired by genius. In the end, none of it resulted in any innovative ideas, just recycling brilliant ideas into second-rate advertising.
But what would you expect from a society that thrives on copycats? Food Network is based on the idea that people don’t trust their own instincts, rather copying experts. Andrew writes brilliantly about his own cooking experience on the Northern Planner blog. Just spend a few hours with HGTV, home improvement magazines or healthy lifestyles shows. It’s all about copying what other people have done.
Average marketing is done by reading a lot of advice. An average life is lived by consuming a lot of advice. Real life starts when you get the basics down, learn everything you can from your parents, family, friends, books, movies, music, etc. and then shut all the outside influences out and create your own life. Your own convictions, your own style.
All the people that ask for another viral video or a widget or more bright shiny objects, didn’t take the time to process information. Just like the creatives reading annuals after annuals. Get the creative brief and let it sink in. Don’t give in to the noise and create more noise. Then use the product/service. Push it as hard as you can. Use it as you. Use it as your neighbor. Use it as Joe Blow. And let that sink in. Your job is to keep the noise level down to a minimum. Your mind needs silence to develop inspiring, innovative ideas.
These are hectic times: Ad clutter, nervous marketing departments, anxious agencies to sell the newest fad or sticking to the old :30s because the rest is so confusing.
It’s not that hard.
Instead of relying on the pied pipers of old/new/emerging/whatever marketing, trust yourself first. Or as Funkadelic brilliantly sang: “Free your mind and your ass will follow.”