It seemed like a good idea at the time. That’s why you championed it and pushed it through.
You were certain, weren’t you. So you bullied your teammates, hoodwinked a skeptical client and foisted it onto an unsuspecting public.
Well, it turned out to be a crap idea.
In hindsight of course. A monumental stinker that should have gone quietly from the tip of your tongue into the heavily-guarded vault of bad ideas that exists in all of us, never to see the light of day or the pages of a newspaper or any medium for that matter, ever.
But it seemed like such a good idea at the time.
Bad ideas destroy businesses, castrate careers, embarrass, outrage and horrify audiences. There’s a lot at stake.
My belief, gained from many years at this game, is that most people know a bad idea when they see it but mistakenly believe that, rather than being simply bad, it is edgy. They think that this edge will get the ad noticed, always the goal of any advertisement,
But it’s easy to get noticed. You can walk down to Government and Fort, drop your pants and void your bowels and you will get noticed. The question is: are you getting noticed for the right reasons?
How do you recognize the difference between edge and stink so that the bad idea never actually becomes an issue for hindsight to have to illuminate in the first place?
I recommend 3 strategies:
1. The overnight test. Smart people love to be right and will therefore defend a bad idea in the face of all reason, until such time as good sense prevails. So you have to create that time. Leave your “edgy” idea on the wall overnight and forget it. Come back the next day and look at it again. If you can’t foresee all the carnage it will leave in its wake, you’re in big trouble mate.
2. Ask someone you trust to evaluate the idea. This is usually a good job for a creative director. Another comforting thing about the CD’s stamp of approval is that her or his job is then on the line when the idea backfires.
3. If you have any doubt, throw it out. If you’ve only got one idea in your arsenal, you really have come to the party under-dressed. Go back to the brief and come at it from a new direction. There are a limitless number of solutions to any problem. The mark of a great creative person is not their capacity to produce one “good” idea, but many. Chances are they won’t all lead to your ruin!
Some very sorry ideas below to get you in the frame of mind you need to be out of:
(I suppose an ad that sells sports bras to women under the premise that their large breasts will bounce in their faces and bruise them can be considered a bad idea. Hm?)
(You want this one back. You just want it back.)
(Well, the world was a more innocent place in the 60’s and 70’s apparently.)