Earlier this week, as New York sweated through a stifling heat wave, I posted a sentence to two from Raymond Chandler--how he described heat.
It was good and visceral. It was fresh. It was anti-cliche.
In other words, it stood for something. It was noticeable.
What strikes me about so much advertising (and life) today is that it looks to garner nothing more than polite applause. Yes, it has the ambition not to suck. But it lacks the courage to really be loud, strong, powerful and passionate.
After nearly every client meeting I sit through, people come up to me and say "I can't believe you said that." Often because I said something that wasn't expected to be said.
Often because I had a strong point of view. And expressed it in language that wasn't dull.
Life is dull. As "Big Daddy" said in Tennessee Williams' "A Cat on a Hot Tin Roof," "The truth is pain and sweat and payin' bills and makin' love to a woman that you don't love any more. Truth is dreams that don't come true, and nobody prints your name in the paper 'til you die."
Our job as communicators is to break through the everyday and hum-drum. It's to be unexpected and "heard."
Cliche and sameness equals polite applause. Something referential and reverential to something else. Something that's easy to approve of and easy to ignore. Something to politely applaud.