Assumed Knowledge. Good Luck Trying To Succeed With That.

JD Salinger. His book, The Catcher in the Rye, was rejected at first. To date more than 65 million copies have been sold. The book continues to be a money-spinner with 250,000 sales every year.
JD Salinger. His book The Catcher in the Rye was rejected at first. Hard to believe.
Because to date more than 65 million copies have been sold. The book continues to be a money-spinner with 250,000 copies sold every year.

In 1950 a publisher called Eugene Reynal assumed nobody would read The Catcher in the Rye.

There’s an assumption for you.

He 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 as well.

As we said … there’s an assumption for you.

Chances are you 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 in a product company.

The ad agency came in after two unsuccessful tries to sell a new campaign.

Unhappily, it wasn’t a case of third time lucky.

A senior marketer rejected the campaign aimed at Millennials as it was like nothing he had ever seen before.

Even though it was on-brief there was no precedent for it.

Precedent was all important.

Equally, in a roundabout way the marketer said he ‘assumed’ the solution was going to be something else.

As you might have guessed, the intern thought differently.

His take was more along the lines of not-so-fast-on-the-rejection-thing’.

He realized originality made the brand stand out. It added appeal and a freshness.

Precedent didn’t come into it.

But nobody asked for his opinion.

Too bad.

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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