Ideas Rule!

When I started as a junior copywriter at Ogilvy in New York, and I got my first assignment, I was paired up with a senior art director who had just arrived at the agency from one of Madison Avenue’s hottest agencies. We were given some completely lame assignment — I think it was to sell insulation for Owens-Corning, and I worked all night, banging away almost a hundred, brilliant, witty, punny, funny, CREATIVE, headlines. First thing the next morning I was waiting outside his office, an eager puppy dog. He dragged himself in around 10:15. I proudly unveiled all my brilliance. Sipping his coffee and checking messages, he perused them. Then he looked at me, ignoring them all, and said, “OK, let’s get to work. We need an idea.” I thought I gave him ideas. 100 of them! But was I ever wrong. An idea is everything — all those headlines perished (thank goodness) and thus began my real education. The funny thing is, today, with all the stuff, blogs, outreach, hoo ha and apps and ha ha, it’s still the same. Without an idea you have nothing. Nothing. (Oh, and for extra credit — that is what we get paid for.)


One thought on “Ideas Rule!

  1. I couldn’t agree more. Cute images and sappy music paired with meaningless copy are NOT substitutes for a real idea with flesh and bones — in any medium — advertising, Hollywood scripts, TV (think SNL). An idea, fleshed out, with a beginning, middle, and end, is all. It’s hard work.

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