Just today a prospective client sent me a piece of copy asking my opinion. Of course as it came from a prospective client you can guess that I didn’t write it and right about now I can hear you saying “How can this ‘son of a gun’ (or words to that effect) offer a rational opinion? And you’d be absolutely correct – future clients should never ask another copy writer to comment on a colleague’s work.
As you might have guessed I thought it was a load of crap, but not for the reasons you may think! It was well enough written – although one sentence did appear to be devoid of a verb or two, but that’s a trifle – No. What startled me into a negative discourse was its distinct absence of risk and its absolute ‘ordinariness’ – excuse the licence (‘ordinariness’ is a bit like ‘physicality’ without the football commentator) I digress. This copy was so Ho hum, I thought I had died and gone to Harvey Norman’s furniture section.
It was boring in the extreme and filled with the usual mundane negative questions. “Are you looking for a garden that makes you the envy of every neighbour?” The answer to any self respecting gardener is, “Off course I am, you idiot!” It’s the sort of crappy stuff that intelligent people dread – being treated like a drongo!
What has happened to our industry? Why have we advertising geniuses become what we have? Was it the arrival of Honest John and his cronies who expelled us to the age of long drop toilets; top hats and shovelling horse manure from the street to help the rhubarb grow. Was it the advent of a brave new world or the end of the cold war – whatever, it castrated our sense of adventure; neutered our craving for risk and circumvented our creative juices until they ran into the toilet bowl like melted chocolate.
Today, as an industry, no one wants to take a chance, clients are conservative to the point where television commercials possess as much personality as the ABC’s ‘Macca’ on sleeping tablets. 99% of television ads are hideously boring.
And so in answer to my potential clients query I candidly told him that the copy and the concept were, in my opinion a load of bollocks – that’s right I said it “bollocks”. It’s time to revolt and tell everyone involved in delivering product communication that there is nothing like ‘entertaining the consumer’. Tell it like it is; build concepts with a little bit of today’s reality; live life loud, and if you get into the poo don’t be surprised if Mrs. Whitehouse and her Presbitarian band arrive screaming that you’ve upset her poodle and sent the cat to the home for strays.
To those young enough to want to become something special in this industry, don’t be persuaded by what is now ‘today’s’ traditionalism. Girt your loins; stand tall and be not afraid. We were once great at creating the remarkable and some of us still are. Look for the old rebels; seek out the veterans who are trapped in old bodies but whose 20 year old minds and hearts still yearn for a time when showing a bit of flesh or dropping the odd ‘bugger me’ brought you a ‘Golden Key’ or a trip to the lectern for a ‘Cannes Palm’.
Advertisers of the future unite and let’s get back to having fun; creating remarkable advertising and stop taking money under false pretences by making clients totally invisible. Charge!