By Alexander Taylor
This Title Hasn’t Been Written Before
“If you work from knowledge, you won’t create something new.”
Paul Arden said it.
Alexandra Taylor echoed it.
Might make you think…
… Why would I want to create something new?
After all, formulas work.
Without them, the Pret Latté wouldn’t be the tastiest on the high street.
The McNugget wouldn’t be the pop culture sensation it is.
But that’s not our business.
Capital C. Lowercase c. We create.
If we aren’t producing new things, we aren’t doing what we’re paid for.
Richard Shotton breaks this down in The Choice Factory.
He gave random participants 16 pool balls.
Each had a number on them. 15 were black, 1 blue.
They were then asked to recall numbers on the balls.
Black was the formula.
Blue was the new.
And it was 30 times more likely to be recalled.
So, where does that leave us?
In a really awkward position.
Clients like formulas.
Here’s Vic Polkinghorne from Sell! Sell!:
“What might seem like a safe choice in the confines of a boardroom will most likely be a waste of money when it’s out in the real world.
Advertising that feels safe or familiar is actually quite risky.
There’s no “safety in numbers” when it comes to advertising.
If someone else is doing something similar to what you’re doing, or looks or sounds like you, you’re both in trouble.”
Or as Dave Trott writes:
“The problem is nobody ever explains to the client why the obvious is bad… Creatives want to be different… But that just looks like flashy pyrotechnics to the client.”
And whilst ageism is a huge problem in the ad industry, this is bad news for junior Creatives.
Because we don’t want to challenge.
Innovation can be mistaken for naivety, stupidity.
Stick to the formula, kid.
But do that, and we’re dead in the water.
What’s your favourite hand-holding-an-iPhone ad from the Tube?
What’s your favourite 12-frames-of-aspirational-young-smiling billboard in Brixton?
What’s your favourite minimalist-design-for-the-modern-mens-man-menswear-man targeted social media post?
I find it difficult to choose between 90% of them.
And I have a feeling I’m not alone.
Copernicus Consulting did a study of TV ads a few years ago.
They found only 7% to have a differentiating brand message.
So, really, it’s worse than I thought.
I’m having difficulty choosing between 93% of them.
Here’s the thing.
If 93% of advertising looks the same, then it’s really easy to see patterns.
And as Helmut Krone boldly stated:
“Learn the rules, and then break them.”
As John Hegarty heartily claimed:
“When the world zigs, zag.”
as Marc Lewis cheekily quipped:
“If you’ve watched three episodes of I’m a Celebrity, fuck you.”
And I think he said it again.
So let’s create something new.
And it’s not just a kooky idea. It it’s not flashy pyrotechnics.
It’s our job.