Friday, July 6, 2018

OOOOXOOOO. Wisdom by way of Dave Trott.

99% of you will take a glance at what follows and dismiss it as "too long." Maybe .75% will read it. .25% will read it, think about it and apply it to their work. 

It will make a difference in their careers.

It comes from the great Dave Trott. 

Look him up if you don't know him, because you should.

I ran across this note earlier this week and sent Dave a note asking if I can use it for this blog, and if there's any backstory I should know about.

Here's what Dave wrote to me, only slightly edited:

"That memo must have been written about 30 years ago on a typewriter, and copied on a Xerox machine…

As far as any backstory goes -

My advertising thinking was always pretty simple and basic, as follows:


Advertising types may sit and argue over which is the better O but consumers don't do that.
They just see the one that's different.
Not better, different.

So we need to ensure whatever we do is different at the fundamental stage - media, strategy, brief, etc.
Before we get anywhere near execution.

I thought it was the job of the creative dept to do this, we can't just leave it to planners and account people."

And here, for my readers' convenience, is the text of Dave's memo:

TO:  All creative Teams                       FROM: D. Trott


What’s worrying me at present is that the work all of us are doing is getting increasingly conventional.

Instead of trying to be totally different to what’s around, we’re more often nowadays concerned with trying to do the same thing,
but better.

Consequently, our TV and Radio is usually 30 seconds of dialogue or VO with a (slightly better than standard) strapline and packshot. Our press is a (better than average) arrangement of picture, headline, body-copy, packshot.

And it’s the same with our posters.

All our thinking starts from ‘Right we’ve read the brief, now, how can we do a good ad?’

Not enough thinking goes into ‘How can we do it totally different.’ before we start, during and after we’ve done it.

With the workload, and four groups of you working hard, I haven’t got time to think each problem through with you in order to encourage you to do it different.

It’s hard enough trying to do it on my own work.

Because of time-pressures all I can usually do is look at the work you’ve done and help you select the best.

By the time it gets to me, it’s usually too late to start worrying about whether we should have done it differently.

So what I’d like from now each of us to question the media and the brief more, and earlier.

I’d like to see the accent on everything we do being controversial of course.

But much more than that I’d like to see, from now on, the most important accent on everything we do being unconventional.

Let’s look at what’s being done, and do something different.

When it comes to talking, or theorizing, about our business, the fertilizer is often spread pretty thick. Off the top of my head, I can think of a couple of poseurs--prominent bloggers--who basically spout a truism or two and act it as if they're proferring wisdom.

I can also think of half-a-dozen or more award-show-aficionados who are heralded in our business for their trophies. Many times you'll find these people at the ready with advertising advice.

That's fine and good, and maybe you'll learn something from them. I hope you do.

But I'll bet dollars to donuts it won't be as good, or as simple, as this from Dave Trott:

Let’s look at what’s being done, and do something different.


By the way, if you want to spend a little more time with Dave, check out this video.


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