Originality in advertising. What is it good for?

Over at the splendid oak-panelled online ad chattery that is IFTHISISABLOGTHENWHATSCHRISTMAS DOT BLOGSPOT DOT COM i found this awesome post about YouTube and it’s effect on creative advertising ideas.

we’ve all seen clips we could steal stuff from. that gave us ideas that could have been ads. you know, amateur productions with great ideas but poor execution.

I was going to post a comment but it would have been too long.

here’s my take on “originality” in advertising. I don’t think i’ve ever seen a truly original ad in my life. i shouldn’t. advertising reflects the culture it’s in. much like you don’t see too many wackily dressed salepeople. the overall demeanor of a salesperson is to be familiar and friendly. not mindblowingly strange. most brands are simply trying to make friends and get considered for purchase. that’s pretty much all you can expect. it’s down to the quality of the product after that.

so stunningly original ideas (whatever they are) are not ideal in that context.

Most popular things that are perceived as being original are merely fresh combinations of existing ingredients.

Does true originality in fact exist? Nobody grows up in a complete vacuum therefore we all are the product of our influences. Nobody is “untainted”. But I think as we get older and grow into ourselves the original part is that thing that only we can bring to the mix. Our unique combinations of things that already exist. Our personality. Our unique flavor. That’s all there is. IMHO.

2 responses to “Originality in advertising. What is it good for?

  1. Great subject. Adverve Podcast did a show on plagiarism recently.

    I think it has to do with volume of work. Think of a rock band today. It is impossible to be original. In fact really only techno that allows you to utilize every sound possible, vs the limits of instruments can be original still…no fault other than everything has been done once. And even Originality in Techno is waning. Just due to sheer volume of what exists before.

    I think the Originality Experience really only exists for children. The Tao of Pooh covers this wonderfully. I will check the link btw.

    Now that you have me thinking…maybe ‘Originality’ was the impetus and not starvation for some of the nasty foods various cultures eat. Its not enough to eat ‘just’ Goose Liver. I am going to stuff that goose with food until his liver almost explodes and call it Foie Gras. LOL

  2. theescapepod

    my thing howie is that wouldn’t it be WONDERFUL if originality (which in this context can only mean freshness) was advertising’s biggest problem. it’s not. it’s that most ads are dull as a dog’s arse and make absolutely no sense. we have to crank out ideas day in day out 24/7. solving a problem in an interesting and compelling way is all we can ask. has there been something done like it in the past? most probably. that’s precisely why people will embrace it. Andy Kaufman. there was an original. but people didn’t know what to make of him.

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