When your idea becomes another’s idea

You’ve just arrived at the agency. It’s time to start your morning ritual. You know, get some coffee (or tea, or water, or whatever you kids drink these days). You grab a bagel with extra cream cheese because you deserve it. You start reading the news, swiping the endless ad industry blogs (hopefully you read this one too). You watch the newest ads on Creativity Online or Ads Of The World trying to find your inspiration muse for the day.

Out of the blue, you read one article that you didn’t expect. Or a new campaign with a title that’s way too familiar.

Your pupils dilate, your heartbeat is racing. You sweat, you curse (whispering at first, then so loud everyone can hear you). You can’t believe it…

Some mother $@%&* stole your idea and made it!

That idea you thought about months ago and got killed by your boss, by your client or by a producer that said it couldn’t be done. That idea that you never showed it to anyone because you thought it was so bad it wouldn’t ever fly. That idea that you forgot and is now lost between a mountain of used papers and old scribbles.

But now it’s there. Another creative thought about it. Another brand bought it. And it’s out there—getting the press yours will never get.

You keep cursing all day long. You play angry music. You want to call the son of a bitch that stole your idea and make him put you on the credits. You’re irrational.

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But you know what?

You’re wrong. It’s not your idea anymore.

Why?

Because that other guy made it. Plain and simple.

While your idea is gathering a pile of dust. His/hers is out there, produced, published and running.

And you know what?

That’s what happens in this industry. The ideas that count are the ones that are made.

But don’t worry… I’ve been there too. Today.

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Facebook, brands, 90 characters and me

Yesterday I was wasting my time reading my Facebook newsfeed. I stumbled upon a post from a former teacher and creative director.  In it, he joked about how Facebook just presented its plan for the next 10 years while some brands are still thinking of how to engage with the customer on the Facebook from three years ago. Remember? Those brands that keep asking how many likes the brand page or the post has.

Sadly, that joke hit a little close to home as I was actually working on a Facebook ad for one of the brands I work for.

I started to have one of those existential crises every creative has at some of point of his/her career. On one side, I was looking at a blank screen, trying to come up with 90 characters of customer-engaging, ground-breaking, super-salesy-but-not-too-pushy copy. On the other side, I was thinking how cool it would be if this brand, any brand I work for let me play and create some bots to up their game.

How cool it would be?

My dream didn’t go too far as I had to come back to Earth and finish those 90 characters before the meeting. But it made me realize why our role in the marketing process has changed. Not only are we responsible for creating good, creative marketing campaigns that sell the product (which technically is what we´re being paid for). We are also responsible for being knowledgeable in new technologies and teach our clients how and why to use them.

I know, I know… This is not something new.

I know I can probably find a thousand articles on AdAge, AdWeek and so about this topic. What I won’t find is an article that helps me sell a product and engage with today’s audience using the Facebook from three years ago (if you ask, this is not that article either).

While I wait for some Eureka moment that shows me the answer to that question or wait for someone else to write an article about it, I’ll go back and finish my 90 characters. Because that’s why I’m being paid to do today. I’ve ranted for a while now and I think I’m good to go.

Thanks Daniel for the laugh.