Monday, December 5, 2011

100% Imitation

Nothing speaks to the insecurity of writers like the theory of 100 monkeys. The theory states that if you place 100 monkeys in a room, provide them with typewriters and bananas, within 1000 hypothetical years one of those monkeys will have successfully typed out a Shakespearean play.

That's how little we think of our craft.

As far as advertising writers go, you could probably knock that down to 38 monkeys, a few dozen Dell laptop computers, and a packet of M&M's, and by year's end you'd have a handful of spots better than or equal to the crap that on the flatscreen today.

The 100 Monkey theory also goes a long way towards explaining the statistically impossible number of similar ideas floating about the airwaves.

I'll give you a fine, and personal example. Last year at this time we had produced a number of funny spots for last year's Dealer Event. While filming those spots we also cajoled the director to shoot one extra spot -- a holiday safety message. You might even remember it:

This was not the best spot I ever wrote. Nor is it one of the worst. It has a good narrative, an interesting way to display a proprietary technology and like all good Christmas stories it was written by a Jew(me), you know, the people who are waging a war on Christmas.

Word has it, that this spot, which and I want to emphasize this, was produced last year, will be hitting the airwaves once again very soon. Because America loves an elf with a bladder control problem.

Another word has it that a very similar, did I say similar, I meant duplicate, did I say duplicate, I meant rip-off of the spot will be running on behalf of Cadillac.

This spot was produced by Fallon, an agency in Minneapolis that was once regarded as the most creative in the country. The irony is that during the late 80's and 90's I would study their cerebral style and try to 'mimic' it in my own work. A decade or so later and they're repaying me with an homage.

I guess by the Transitive Law of Creativity, my work is now good enough to finally get a job there.

I wonder what they feed their monkeys.

1 comment:

Jeff said...

The Caddy spot is similar, yet not nearly as good. Just like American cars.