The Musings Of An Opinionated Sod [Help Me Grow!]

The Best Ideas Are The Simple Ones …
October 9, 2006, 11:46 am
Filed under: Comment

Why hadn’t someone thought of this before … genius! 

It’s a far more creative idea than most ad agencies could come up with – even though they bang on about how they’re the real experts in this field. 

To be fair, it’s not just the ad agencies fault [well, not always] … the clients have to take some of the responsibility as well, because as much as they claim they want ideas, in the main, all they want is an ad!

Anyway, have a look at this simplistic genius of an idea and understand big opportunities are everywhere if you opens your eyes. [like this one from Bank Of America]


Ricardo Solutions’ 28-inch Expandable Suiter Pullman w/Built-in Scale

Ricardo Elite Solutions’ built-in digital scale enables travellers to avoid airline overweight monetary penalties.

The revolutionary new design can assure you have stayed under the weight maximums established by both domestic and international airlines.

Large, easy-to-read, digital numbers on top of the pullman suitcase display pounds or kilograms quickly and automatically shuts off after fifteen seconds. 

The long-life batteries can weigh your luggage about 1,800 times–if we were all so lucky to travel for leisure this often.

18 Comments so far
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Can’t believe its not been done before!

Comment by Rob Mortimer

This is a brilliant idea and as for agencies claiming to be creative mate, the truth also is that an idea like this would possibly be one of the small add ons during some mega pitch with cardboard showers galore… and mostly no client would ever pay for it. More clients read and write books on creativity and innovation than agency folks, but most of that lot would never pay for an idea.

That’s the change that will also incentivise agencies to think about things other than ads.

Comment by Hari

How true Hari … if an agency came up with it, it would not be the focus of the pitch and if it was, it would not be something a client would pay for.

The best system I’ve ever seen for remuneration is cynic’s Annual Royalty … because it encourages a real idea to be embraced and executed by clients [ie: Hummer Wall / Virgin Plane / NASA Cards / Taj Mobile Block]

However, there is another interesting issue that I think is affecting the industry and that’s that agencies [tend to] have a much greater knowledge/standard of ads than their clients.

What this means is that agencies are constantly trying to develop ads that push category convention [because they’ve seen what the category has been doing around the World] whereas clients [who are almost universally poorly informed] prefer something far more simplistic – or cliche driven – because in their mind, they think this is right, haven’t seen it before/too often and falls in line with their crappy piece of research findings. [designed to encourage duplication, not differentiation]

When will agencies realise they have to keep clients informed of communication developments around the World if they want to stand any chance of actually producing ideas/ads that are different to the norm?

It astounds me how many agencies have creative people who never see/meet the client except at the Christmas party. Given people ‘buy people’, how can an agency expect a client to trust someone who comes up for the ideas of their ads, if they’ve never spent any time with them in the first place?

When cynic started SHOCKumentary … the best/worst of ‘stuff’ from around the World for that quarter … clients started asking us to be even more pragmatic because they had seen what was affecting people around the World – from viral ads, traditional ads, magazine and newspaper articles, films, music – and knew if they wanted to make an impact, it wasn’t about being a leader in their category, but a leader in consumers minds.

Why other agencies don’t do this as a matter of course astounds me … but then too many agencies don’t care about the work at the moment and can make more ‘profit’ churning out everyday shit than spending abit of time crafting something interesting that still will get the client and the consumer to buy.

Oooooh, I think a nerve was ‘touched’, don’t you!?

Comment by Rob

Agree totally mate. However, part of what ails us is the fact the those whose nerves you should’ve touched won’t ever visit this blog or 99% of what’s interesting on the internet or anywhere else.

And as someone who has unfortunately spent all his career in a Multination agency I can safely tell you, you overate agency peoples knowledge of advertising. Frankly most of them haven’t seen most of the classic work done on brands. And this goes out even to those who claim to know everything about their category, when they say that they usually mean stuff that happened in their little market upto a maximum of 2 years back.

Singapore has been shocking to me in that aspect of lacking even general knowledge. Ask around your agency and you will find at least 60-70% don’t even subscribe to the newspaper or even read it at work. Most account servicing people would not have heard of Bill Bernbach (this includes some who work at DDB by the way). Try asking any mid-junior level AE if they have actually seen the ‘Think Small’ VW ad and I can bet you most haven’t, they’ve heard about it but never actually seen it.

I don’t want to sound like an old man (that’s rob’s role) moaning on about how the kids are forgetting the good old days. But I think it’s the duty of every agency employee (even if in finance) to have seen the best work done on brands worldwide, otherwise there will be no passion and that’s the start of a slippery slope.

As for clients, well that’s only after we set our own house in order.

Comment by Hari

Maybe more agencies should do what we did at cynic …. where every new employee was/is given a DVD showing a compendium of truly great ideas [be it ads, films, music or ideas like the one above] so that they knew what they were aiming to achieve in their time at the agency and the standards we worked to.

Comment by Rob

Totally agree. And in addition to that we should have a FTP/ Site/ Blog of some kind where everyone uploads some interesting fact or article or anything with regards to advertising that fascinated them. This is mandatory, the one who doesn’t have something to show once a week gets a client meeting cancelled at the last minute… or something like that.

Comment by Hari

Does this not again go down to the agency recruitment tactics though?

How any agency could hire someone who hasnt heard of Bill Bernbach is astounding. They must be amazing to get over that hurdle.

Or is it just laziness? So much time / money / effort is needed to get into advertising (god knows ive spent well over £1000 just getting to and from interviews, and read so many books/blogs etc).

I think my best investment so far was the D+ad 40 year compilation book. It wasnt cheap but it shows you classic ads since the 60s, and is a great way to see how ads have developed.

Comment by Rob Mortimer

I used to be very scared of people who ‘dreamt’ of getting into advertising because they tended to ignore the fact they had to understand and relate to real people, rather than act like psuedo-rock ‘n’ roll stars] … however we’re now in a situation where the industry spends so little time actually investing in training, that these ad-wannabe’s are probably better educated than the folks actually inside agencyland.

In your case Rob, you’re a good bloke who wants to make a genuine difference … what upsets me most is that no one has snapped you up yet. They will, but it’s ridiculous it’s taken this long.

Comment by Rob

Always nice to be complimented…thanks!

Obviously its a little difficult at the moment with moving into the new house. But my plan is to spend the next 12 months working hard on getting knowledge and practice in planning work; and then work towards having something ready for moving time!

The Northern Planning summits are being really useful, getting used to talking and meeting with advertising people; I also should have a task set from the agency I spoke to a couple of months ago to work on.


Eventually people who are good enough (and dont give up) get in. The problem is that so many genuinely good people will give up because its just SO much effort and expense.

Comment by Rob Mortimer

You’re absolutely right – so don’t give up or I’ll set Andy on you OK!!!

Another scary trend is more and more people are leaving adland because they are fed up of not being properly trained or treated. What’s worse is that often, these are the very people who could be something truly special with the right support.

OK, so I am sure we’re not the only industry going through this, but it really bothers me, which is why what Russell is doing is so great – even though by rights, it shouldn’t be necessary.

I always wanted to start an official Adland Union – scare the shit out of corporations who should know better – but like Macca’s, I know it would be stopped before it stood a chance to take off. Guess that’s why I started cynic – closest I could get to professional anarchy, haha!

Comment by Rob

How can anyone argue with Profitable Executive Anarchy as a concept for a business?!

The lack of training in many respects must be down to a state of maintaining the Parfitt. But is it not proven so so many times that businesses that invest in their staff reap rewards.

Comment by Rob Mortimer

I think agencies feel that staff move so often, that spending money on training them is ultimately a waste. If only they realised that meant that people might stay abit longer … ha.

And then there is training …. so much of it is corporate, process-driven rubbish. Sure, there is a need for some of it, but I always believe it is better to teach AND inspire which is why we’ve done a bunch of stuff [because of Andy and George’s brilliance] including inviting a Barrister [to teach how to ask questions], acting school [for presentation confidence] and a Policeman [investigating hunches] to name a few.

Hell, at HHCL they sent me to sell plastic bags for a week so that I could learn how to deal with real people – not just the admen I was surrounded by each day.

Why is this rare these days? It shouldn’t be … it’s what ultimately what separates advertising from business and rather than think this is a bad thing [as many multi-nationals do] it is our whole reason for existence.

We help business by understanding how to motivate the public to act in their long and short term best interests. That doesn’t come just from talking ‘business’, it comes from talking ‘human’ and too many ad agencies forget it and forget to tell their people about it.

Sorry … ranting, we’re dead passionate about this, ha!

Comment by Rob

You rant as much as you like Rob. Its what you do best and why we love you most.

We can’t wait to see you here soon. Kx

Comment by Katerina@Cynic

While ranting is good for the soul and body. I must say there’s something in RM’s idea of an Adland Union, I would think of something like Consumer Report that magazine that really shook up some of the manufacturers. Admitted it’s still niche, but it has defnitely expanded public awareness of the real deals by a fair amount. Unless we think of an initiative that will be able to reach out to those who ‘giev up’ we’ll never have critical mass to actually change advertising agencies and thus marketing.

Rob Mortimer, as a fellow non-genius who is not from Cynic or any such wonderful place let me give you my two cents worth (Deepavali Offer! Was Four cents!) on how you can approach this who getting in as a Planner. Obviously I say completely unware about any of your other attempts or need for money etc., There are essentially two kinds of jobs you can get: One is to get into a Cynic like place which is full of people who think ‘right’ and act on it. This is great, but implies a long wait for the right window of opportunity, something that’s alright if you have deep pockets to sustain you meanwhile. The other is to get a job with the ‘dark’ side and work in a multi-national agency, like me, the cons of this are plenty as we all have been going on. But let me tell you the Pros.

i) Scale – A big MNC has many clients and lots of money, they find spectacular ways to waste it, if you’re a little clever you can find a way to just divert some of those funds to a specific kind of research/ idea you want to do for a client.

ii) Many clients – The obvious benefit is that you get to know about the businesses of many categories and more importantly you understand the stupid clients as people, know their belief systems and their appraoch to life and work. This knowledge will be very useful later in life when you’re very senior or want to start something on your own.

iii) The big noisy elephants can’t see under their feet – This is classic agency behaviour, big accounts and self-important account people will occupy all of the radar. But every agency has a few neglected accounts, the pariahs no one wants to touch. Identify one or two of them and work your magic on them. Sure you’ll have to work late and all but it’s worth it. You’ll be able to build a good ‘book’ so to speak.

In short mate, think like a terrorist, get inside the place and blow it up.

I hope you find something soon. All the best.

Comment by Hari

Hari – pay attention – the Adland Union was what I wanted to start then decided on cynic instead.

Tut tut … your level of concentration is bad at the moment isn’t it.

Comment by Rob

Hari … sod your job offer, I’m putting you up to work at Hudson!

Comment by Rob

Wow, we’ve gone from adland anarchy to adland terrorism in 5 posts…

Thanks for the advice and support Hari! 🙂

Comment by Rob Mortimer

That’s funny … we’ll be continuing the terrorism thread in my next post …

Comment by Robert

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