Friday, July 15, 2011

Bet you can't think of just one.

        I can always tell when a student came up with just one idea for an ad and then decided "that's done!" It  always annoys me.

        Maybe it's just envy. I could never do one response to a problem and know it's perfectly solved. Advertising doesn't work that way. It's not a Rubik's Cube. 

       Persuasion is an art, not a science. It's probably like psychotherapy. You can quit if you want to, but it doesn't mean there aren't more answers.

       I got to know a therapist in Detroit. She was from Budapest; her name was Noemi. One day we were having coffee and chatting and she said, "I think you have a rich inner life". I still don't know whether that was a compliment or a criticism, but she was right.

       When I'm working on a creative project, I automatically reach into this rich inner life of mine and visualize people and circumstances and conversations and can't stop thinking of more ideas. Only when the due-date says, "Time's up, Harvey, what've you got?" do I wind down. Sometimes not even then. Leo Burnett, who built a huge Chicago ad agency, said it's never too late for a better idea.

       Creative people who jot down the first thing that comes to mind and immediately check their email aren't being very creative. I can't imagine Picasso doing that, or Thoreau, or Coco Chanel.  When you do that you're slamming the door on a better idea, a better job, a better lifestyle, and a lot of fun. 

        You can always do ten ads, or ten designs, and conclude that your first one was best, but unless you do the other nine, how would you know? When we try for a job at an ad agency named Burnett, or Ogilvy,  or Doyle Dane Bernbach, maybe we should look into how those guys got their names on the door.

        It wasn't by doing one quick idea on the bus.



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