When I went to school, I was called the cheating king. I was known for finding the most innovative ways to cheat: Hiding little cheat papers in the toilet bowl, underneath rocks, in a little bag next to the ashtray, walkie-talkie earphones, mirrors – you name it. Funny thing is, I never used the cheat papers. I had to write the cheats 5 times on 5 different papers. By the time I was done, I memorized everything already. I still needed to write out the cheat papers for my inner peace. And my classmates liked them as well.
But the most important part of that story is that the teachers knew about it. They knew my handwriting, they knew I was behind all these little papers. My main goal was to outwit them. Find new hiding spots, new ways to be better than them. I always loved to outthink the competition. Trying to be as creative and original as possible. To surprise people.
That’s why I always loved marketing.
It’s about being creative and original. It’s about surprising people. It’s about creating something that works, the 5% that changes behavior. And be better than the 95% of marketing that doesn’t work. You can be the first brand using a new platform and score a huge PR win. But if you don’t outwit your competition, you don’t change behavior. You need to be smarter, more innovative, more daring, being ready to take unfair advantages. When I encounter that attitude and way of thinking, I immediately fall in love with it.
We shouldn’t defend advertising. We need to defend good advertising.
Dave Grohl doesn’t defend music. He defends great music.
Jack Nicklaus doesn’t speak out for golf. He speaks out for amazing golf.
We can talk all day long about conversations and the tribes we need to build. Or we can have lengthy discussions how more people watch more TV than ever before.
That’s not the issue.
It’s about good vs. bad
I don’t care about about advertising. I don’t care about the war between paid, earned and owned. Or traditional vs. digital vs. social vs. social. That’s ideological nonsense. What I care about is creating something that people care about. Something that’s awesome, outstanding, worth talking about.
We’re not in the game of defending territories. Or declaring certain tactics dead. We’re in the game of being creative and awesome.
Or we’re producing the 95% of stuff that makes no impact.