In 1950 a publisher called Eugene Reynal assumed nobody would read The Catcher in the Rye.
He wasn’t exactly good-humored in his criticism.
Reynal hated the book and refused it for publication as it was unlike anything else in print at the time.
He said it had to be rewritten with major changes to be more like the kind of books that were selling.
The character of Holden Caulfield needed to be completely re-done, it was a non-starter.
There’s an assumption for you.
Chances are you’ve read The Catcher in the Rye and loved it.
If so, you’re among the 65 million people who bought the book.
65 Million books … how’s that for a money-spinner?
The fact is The Catcher in the Rye is still selling 250,000 copies a year.
So much for Eugene Reynal.
But you may come across people like him in marketing and advertising.
We heard about one from an intern spending a summer in a product company.
Their ad agency came in after two unsuccessful attempts to sell a new campaign.
Unhappily, it wasn’t a case of third time lucky.
The marketing director rejected the campaign as it was like nothing he had ever seen before.
There was no precedent for it.
More to that, the marketer director said the solution should have been more along the lines of his ideas … ideas, incidentally, which were not shared in the brief.
One wonders then … why bring in an agency in the first place. Why buy a dog and then bark yourself.
As you might have guessed, the intern thought differently about the creative work that was presented that day.
His take was more along the lines of not-so-fast-on-the-rejection-thing’.
He realized the ads made the brand a stopper. In short, the campaign was different and for that, great stuff.
Precedent didn’t come into it.
But nobody asked the intern for an opinion.
Assumed knowledge killed off a strong idea.
Let’s hope it didn’t also kill off an intern’s desire to go into advertising.
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