Sunday, March 29, 2009


There are a lot of types of failure in our business. But today I am talking about just one. The good kind of failure, the failure that comes from aiming high, from ambition, from trying to do something special.

Years ago I worked for a great agency that trained its clients to expect failure now and again as the necessary by-product of trying things. Now however, if your spot doesn't dot all the i's and cross all its t's, in other words, if it doesn't accomplish all the myriad and unreasonable expectations laid out in front of it, it is deemed a failure and you will probably be fired.

I am dealing with this now.

Next time, that is if I'm not fired this time, I likely won't be so ambitious. The work will be humdrum, and therefore, considered successful.

This is life during the Re-De.


Anonymous said...

Last year, we had to come up with a TV spot that began life as a wonky brief (the client insisted we put a message across that would not be supported by the TV-police, so we had to ALMOST put the message across). Next, the poor concepts were subjected to weeks of focus groups and were, I kid you not, given an average score on 10 (so a 6.8 on 10 beat out a 6.5 on 10).

Every focus group brought about new changes, which were tested in the next focus group. Statistics were calculated. Reports were drawn up. The spot was shot (and it wasn't TOO bad, considering). But subsequent testing after the spots began to air brought them there average scores DOWN (to, say, 6.2 on 10), and boy was the research guru confused and the client upset.

It would have been nice to have failed the old fashioned way, at least. So, my sympathies.

Tore Claesson said...

Malcolm McLaren, the then manager of sex pistols, don't believe in failures. He preaches spectacular failures.