Last night I went to see Berlioz's "Faust" at the Metropolitan Opera. Here, hell, heaven, life, death, temptation were re-created with innovative staging and soaring music. I've seen dozens of operas and their bar is set pretty high. The last thing a producer or director of an opera does is produce something like you've seen before.
This seems in direct contrast to the creativity found in our industry. Now, we have "The Office" rip-off spots. The "eye-brow raiser" spots (boring boring boring joke, raised eyebrow reaction). The ersatz Apple spots (see Blackberry). And so it goes. In fact, I think most creative starts with a statement like, "this will be a lot like ____________."
Of course, this way of working makes everyone comfortable. Clients can say, "I'm getting something like an Apple spot." And they feel good about that. Same for creatives. Some years ago, I created a presentation for an agency I worked at called "Karaoke Kreative," a process on how to assure that you'll create work that's easy to create, sell and produce.