August 29, 2004
selling out is harder than it looks
More thoughts on “How To Be Creative”:
21. Selling out is harder than it looks.
Diluting your product to make it more “commercial” will just make people like it less.
Many years ago, barely out of college, I started schlepping around the ad agencies, looking for my first job.
One fine day a Creative Director kindly agreed for me to come show him my portfolio. Hooray!
So I came to his office and showed him my work. My work was bloody awful. All of it.
Imagine the worst, cheesiest “I used to wash with Sudso but now I wash with Lemon-Fresh Rinso Extreme” vapid housewife crap. Only far worse than that.
The CD was a nice guy. You could tell he didn’t think much of my work, though he was far too polite to blurt it out. Finally he quietly confessed that it wasn’t doing much for him.
“Well, the target market are middle class houswives,” I rambled. “They’re quite conservative, so I thought I’d better tone it down…“
“You can tone it down once you’ve gotten the job and once the client comes after your ass with a red hot poker and tells you to tone it down,” he laughed. “Till then, show me the toned-up version.“
This story doesn’t just happen in advertising. It happens everywhere.
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