Advertising is a bit of a strange business to be in really, and when I say ‘to be in’, I of course mean ‘trying to get into’. It’s not so much the whole ‘it’s not about how many cocks you suck, but… it’s not like they’re going to suck themselves’ kind of mentality, or the absolute brutality of it as a business, as they can both be linked to hundreds of chosen career paths. It’s more, like design in general, that your ideas and work can be made irrelevant in the blink of an eye. I mean, the worst case scenario is that sometimes you don’t even realise the idea you just came up with, has already been made irrelevant by someone ten years prior.
The problem is, it’s hard to know everything. It’s hard to sit around brain storming ideas for a product that’s already been advertised the shit out of. Take for example a campaign I made for Samsonite luggage.
Would you have thunk it? A campaign featuring a suicide bomber? Hardly kosher now is it. This was a portfolio piece, and nothing more. It was made back in university with my tongue firmly planted into the side of my cheek. It was supposed to be a bit of a joke, and a ‘we can be bat shit crazy as well as completely sane’ statement. Pity that someone somewhere had already done the whole ‘suicide bomber’ thing before us then.
Beaten to the punch, and we hadn’t even entered the changing rooms to put our sweats on.
I know, I know, an idea is an idea is an idea. People are good, and people are quick. Just take a look at any of the chipshop award stuff! For someone like me, with an aim of getting into the business, I need to try and one up literally everyone. I need to be original, I need to be funny, and I need to be quick. I mean super quick. For want of a better phrase, superduperfucking quick (that’s copyright to me you vultures. Make up your own words). I need that moment of realisation in a book crit, where a CD will do the whole one eyebrow raised thing and say ‘huh, never thought of that before’, or even better ‘yeah, that’s really good. I like it’. I don’t think people outside of a book crit will ever understand how fucking good it feels when a Creative Director tells you something is good, but it’s absolutely mind blowing. It’s happened once or twice, and it’s a brilliant feeling.
Taking all this into account, originality is the reason why I was sat this morning with Endgaget, Kotaku, TheDrum, BBCNews, and Eurogamer open in a flurry of at least seventeen tabs in firefox. I need to find a story that breaks with a decent hook. A product with a ‘hey we’re better than those guys because this’ unique selling point. I want to be the first person to sit down, and think about how in the hell I can sell this in a way no one has ever thought of before, and if it’s been done before, my idea needs to be better. Let’s be honest, I may be trying to sell to a target audience, but I’m not actually trying to sell to that particular target audience. My target audience is the Creative Director. I need them to realise I’ve thought about who I’m selling to, but more importantly, I need to impress them with the way I’m selling, whatever it is I’m selling. I need that idea to jump out of the page and slap them around the face a little bit. I know they’ll never show it, but a subtle nod, and a quick flick of the page is all I’ll ever ask for. You never want to be asked a question, because then, you’ve probably got it wrong.
Today’s is a rather hither and thithering entry really, touching on originality and the idea process, but it all makes perfect sense to me. I suppose writing this blog every day helps me to understand why I want to do, what I want to do. There will always be the question of morality when it comes to advertising, and some toss pot will always link back to Bill Hicks and think they’re better than me, all the while having to rely on words that aren’t their own to prove it. It’s funny, because as anti-advertising as he was, I bet he loved the promotional displays whenever a book of his was released, or posters of him when a tour was announced. Funny really.
I would like to think that I wouldn’t sell knives to gang members, and breast implants to twelve year olds, and actually, I can rest safely in my bed knowing that I wouldn’t. Sure, money is perhaps one of the reasons I was originally wanted to swim into the big advertising ocean (being told in the first week of university, that I could command an entire workforce and make six figures is a bloody good sell really), but now, I think it’s just me wanting to make something that some where, some one, will think ‘fuck yeah, that’s cool’. Here’s a little dilemma for you though. Is it better to burn out or is it better to fade away? Sorry, let me remove that statement from my own bottom, as it’s complete nonsense. What I meant is; is it better to have that one idea that works brilliantly and a book full of shitters, or is it better to be the guy with an above average book, with nothing particularly mind blowing. Of course it would be better to have them both in a mixture, but life doesn’t always work out that way. Or does it? Yeah, it totally doesn’t.
Well, that’s all I have to say today. I’ve got six hours of news to trawl through in case I find another ‘fairtrade condom’ gem. It might be hard work, but there’s always that flick of an idea when I read something, and that’s something I’ve absolutely and utterly fallen in love with, and for the rest of the year, I get to share it with you lot.