Every marketer worth his or her salt demands great work from their ad agency.
They want the best.
‘Highly creative stuff’ tops their must-have list.
But can they recognize breakthrough work when they see it?
That was the topic of conversation among creative people packed into a bar after work.
Just about everyone had a story about a campaign that was killed. Work that was given the heave-ho by a marketer.
We heard about rejected campaigns that were unusual, powerful and loaded with surprise value.
Those in the bar said the killed ideas were ‘light years ahead of the limp, safe, so-called acceptable’ work that finally ran.
When worthy campaigns are turned down most agreed … opportunities to take the brand further are lost.
‘I’ve never seen anything like this before.’
They were all reasons for rejection of work that was on strategy.
It was agreed that education could help.
If marketers were savvier about creative work, it would make them better able to compete.
To that end it was decided MBA programs should teach more than courses like ‘Corporate Strategy’, ‘Entrepreneurial Finance’ and ‘Managing Human Capital’.
Business schools could also offer courses on creativity and its value in the marketplace.
After all, a company’s appeal rides on making informed and correct content decisions.
This reminded us of a reading assignment at ad school years ago.
The book was George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four.
The assignment wasn’t to read the book.
Or even the first chapter.
It was to read the first sentence — 14 words.
Here they are:
‘It was a bright cold day in April, and the clocks
were striking thirteen.’
The opening is a lesson on how to gain attention … to stop people right from the start.
Orwell turns his back on what’s ‘ordinary’.
In its place you get something that’s different, dramatic, challenging, involving, engrossing.
It’s an example of giving your audience more than they expect. A jolt.
Equally, it reminds you that to get people to read the second line of any kind of writing, the preceding line better be damn good. And so on throughout the piece.
As you know, making people read on is crucial when you want to change minds and drive sales.
If these points about differentiation and sales aren’t enough, here’s another thing about that night.
It took place at PJ Clarke’s in New York. Maybe you know it.
They have a tagline that makes the place stand out.
‘The Vatican of Saloons’.
There’s a thought that stops you.
Maybe it should become the title of a creative course in business schools.
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