Tuesday, October 29, 2013

50 Shades of Schadenfreud

Eight months from now, on a warm night cooled by a soothing Mediterranean breeze,  a creative team from Weiden and Kennedy's London office will hear their names announced in an auditorium populated by hipsters, fashionistas and the advertising world's creative cream of the crop.

They'll put down their flutes of locally-fermented champagne and stroll to the stage where they will receive a golden Cannes Lion that, at a later date, will be cashed in for a better office, a better title and a better seat at the 2015 Cannes Awards Show.

They will forever be recognized, at least in our small domain, as the hotshot team that did that cool Honda spot with the optical illusions.

And that glory will have a halo effect.

Because the smart London-based executives at The Honda Motor Company, the client, will also be hailed as creative visionaries who were willing to take a chance.

They will order duplicate golden Lions and proudly peacock them on the shelves of their cubicle. And they'll take that Lion with them, when they get promoted and moved out of the cubicle farm and into a prized window office of their own.

They will get more money.
And a better title.
And soon they will be at cocktail parties proudly introducing themselves as the "guys who did that Honda spot with the optical illusions."

Where's this all going you may ask.

Well, about three years ago my art director partner and I pitched the exact same idea.

 The same Aames Room. The same optical illusion. It was even for the same company, Honda.

The difference?
We pitched it here in America and could not sell the idea.
They pitched it in Europe and did.

Naturally, this leaves me with a little pit in my stomach. But I'm no stranger to envy, cynicism or professional bitterness. I've learned to embrace that negative energy. Let's face it, people given to excessive sanguinity don't write close to 1000 war stories for a daily blog.

But all is not lost.

I take great solace in the fact that sometime in the near future, there will be a memo or even an article published in the global Honda newsletter. And the brave executives at the London office will be trotted out as the type of risk-taking executives that will "go far in this company."

And that memo or article will be read by an American counterpart who will be thinking to him or herself, "Damnit, some team presented that same idea to me three years ago and I didn't buy it. Shitsticks!!!"

And for me, that's worth all the gold in the south of France.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

We pitched many of the same illusions solutions to Acura as well. A few made it through to display but not to national advertising. The current Acura print campaign was pitched to Acura just prior to the business departing our agency. The solutions are outstandingly parallel but ours were a bit more science/tech oriented so as not to mimic the past Honda print (which it does). As well we planted direction and had conversations over dinner at Sundance regarding bringing in celebrity like Anthony Bourdain as an alpha tie-in. And it was a passed over NO at the time but look now? Funny how people rethink and make ideas their own. Subliminal retention or implanting I surmise.