It doesn’t have to be what you think it has to be.

I’m a fan of Stephan Sagmeister. I like his book. I like his TED talks. Maybe I’m suckered by the Viennese accent, but I think he does fascinating work.

Sagmeister was asked by Adobe to “make an interpretive graphic of their logo.” A lot of creatives would have come back to Adobe with just that. A different version of their logo. Sagmeister gave them a game show. The first episode is below. But you should view the entire experience here.
Episode 1, Sagmeister X Walsh from Sagmeister & Walsh on Vimeo.

I work at The Richards Group. And though I’m not on this account, one of our most famous campaigns is the Chick-fil-A cows. This is one of the longest-running, most-awarded advertising campaigns around. And the Cows were completely off-brief. Not even close. The idea was at odds with the original strategy. It took guts to present something off-brief to the clients. And it took guts for the client to buy it. But it’s done pretty well for both parties.

We all approach assignments with pre-conceptions. And sometimes we’re able to overcome them. But even then, we still stay within expected parameters. Yes, we have clients to answer to. And yes, we have to be grown-ups and deliver what we promised. But don’t let that stop you from doing something more.

It doesn’t have to be what you think it has to be.



Ideas vs. Idea-like Things

I want to give a shout out to my friends at The Richards Group who made the following commercial. I don’t normally share work like this, but I want to make a point. Here’s the Fiat spot my friends made.

And here’s a different Fiat spot. Not sure who made it.

I bet this JLo ad was fun to make. It was probably exciting to sell through to the client. The creative team probably got to meet her. And it was probably cool to shoot all those people running from so many angles.

But a good idea will always, always trump borrowed interest. Always.

And as Luke Sullivan says in his book, it takes just as much time and energy to make a good TV commercial as it does to make a bad one.