When Good Intentions Go Horribly, Desperately Wrong

Selling great creative ideas is tough.  Building consensus around something dependent on aesthetics is rife with challenges.  So over the years, I’ve learned to temper my dismissal of agencies when their creative projects go awry.  God knows, we all live in that glass house from time to time.

Still, most projects start with hope.  A clean screen beckons with the promise of something remarkable to come…unless your briefing sounds something akin to this:

Client:  “So we need an ad campaign–TV, online, OOH–to encourage Boomers to file their Social Security paperwork online, because that cuts government expenses.  You can do anything you want!”

Agency: “Great!”

Client:  “–as long as you use George Takei.  You know George, he played Sulu on Star Trek? We’re playing with the idea of ‘Boldly Go’–but that’s just a thought starter…”

Agency:  “Oh.  Uh-huh…  Well, we can probably work with tha–“

Client:  “Oh, and Patty Duke.  We signed Patty Duke too.”

Agency:  “The one who played Helen Keller in The Miracle Worker?”

Client:  “Exactly!  Sulu and Helen Keller–together at last! It’ll be magic!

Or not.  Sometimes, you just get dealt a bad hand.  But this is really hard to look at every time you get off the commuter train in Chicago…

Dennis Ryan, Advertising, Olson, Minneapolis

By Dennis Ryan, CCO, Olson

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