If you work in advertising, you’ve probably sat in one of those meetings where the client has said that they want a <insert the latest big advertising success here>.
In recent times, this comment has taken the form of ‘We want a Share a Coke’.
Before that, it was ‘We want an Old Spice Guy’.
And before that, it was ‘We want a Best Job’.
I’m sure you get the idea.
However, it reminds me of a friend’s old tweet, which read ‘Most clients want a big, original idea – and three examples of where that idea has worked before’.
This, of course, is a paradox. If something has been done before, it’s not original. And advertising is a business where originality is rewarded with a customer’s interest and engagement.
The truth is, the campaigns mentioned here are the product of great ideas that simply would not have existed without the belief and bravery of the marketers behind them.
For a moment, let’s pretend that none of the ideas above had been done.
With the Coke idea, you’re choosing to make the product brand name considerably smaller and/or replace it with the name of customers. Then there are the logistics of actually printing the new packaging and getting it to market via numerous supply channels.
With the Old Spice Response campaign, the idea is to create on-the-run pieces of film that are each aimed solely at one individual. So in essence, multiple TV ads without media spend, approvals or buttoned-down pre-production meetings, that are aimed at an audience of one.
And with the Best Job In The World, where glossy pictures are the category norm, you’re looking at reducing your ad to the classifieds.
Now, how many marketers can put their hand on their heart and say, ‘Yep, I would buy that’.
There are plenty of things that make these ideas either too hard or too risky. But they say fortune favours the brave. Or, as General Patton said, ‘Courage is fear holding on a minute longer’.