Monday, January 13, 2014

The Path of Least Resistance

I ran into an old friend several weeks ago.
Let's just call him Popeye to protect his identity.

As friends in the ad biz often do, we engaged in a little shop talk.

Who is where. 
That works sucks. 
He's a butthole. 
I got fired from that place.
They fired me, too.

That kind of stuff.

I mentioned to Popeye that I had heard about an interesting job opportunity that he might want to explore. And he started giving it some thought. Thinking aloud he said, "That could be an interesting position. I have the experience. I shower regularly. And I'm good at taking input."

That comment stuck with me.

Not the one about hygiene. The one about input.

I'm not big on input.
In fact, I'm convinced there's too much of it.
Too many cooks in the kitchen.
Too many bureaucratic layers.
Too many people who haven't earned the right to share an opinion, sharing an opinion.

As a result, work has become unfocused. Answering to all constituencies, but satisfying none. If we were smart, and I am implying that we are not, briefing would not be conducted by planners or digital strategists or chief innovation officers. And there would never be a gathering of 10 or more people to sit in a room and watch an "expert" read verbatim from a brief.

If we were smart, we'd sit the creative team down with the CEO -- you know the person who gets to say "yea" or "nay" and have them hash it out for an hour.

Because here's what would happen.

Pressed for time and an upcoming flight to Cleveland to address the shareholders, the CEO would magically blurt out the unique selling proposition. The CEO would have no time for a "deep dive" or a "metric analysis" and a "loop back session." He or she would simply spit out the ONE overriding thought that needs to be conveyed in the commercial or the website or the banner ad or, god forbid, the viral film.

Necessity isn't the mother of invention, brevity is.

The entire painful and laborious process could be short circuited.
The work would get better.
And creatives, like myself, could start looking forward to getting out of bed every morning.

Less input, more output.
That's my motto.

1 comment:

Copywriter Hal Werner said...

I completely agree. I've seen groups study a problem for months only to end up more confused than they started. Design by committee gets everyone's worst fears, not their best ideas. The result is work that offends fewer people and excites fewer people. You want a strong idea? Stop letting CFOs do line edits. Stop letting business major art direct. Let everyone do what they do best and get out of the way.