Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Miracles still happen here.

Maybe there are forces we can't see that sometimes send us messages. In the course of a week, a plane crash lands on a river and all survive, and a mixed-race man becomes President of a country where fifty-years-ago he could hardly even vote in much of our territory, where police chiefs were turning fire hoses and siccing dogs on people who wanted little more than the rights guaranteed them in the 15th Amendment in 1870.

Of course there are analytical reasons for these un-related events. Planes are designed to be virtually impervious. And the fight for equal rights for all has been fought for centuries if not longer.

Still, these are miracles. And as a lesson to advertisers and agencies they represent something seminal. Most often, I've found, when you show work to clients they run through a checklist in their heads to make sure all mandatories are the must-dos are met and all the watch-outs are avoided. Going through such a list assures everyone that the work will "work."

But the truth of the matter is that in this world both disasters and miracles cannot be foreseen much less accounted for. Ducks in a row can be sullied by rapids. And in the end emotion will always trump logic. No matter how hard we try to eliminate it because it has no place on a checklist.

We work in a business where many act as if laughter and emotion don't count. An ad that makes you laugh or feel is no good if it doesn't also say "lemon-fresh." Laughter, emotion, moving-ness, feeling are all miracles. Miracles that for the most part we attempt to destroy, mitigate and eliminate.


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