I oppose ranting on blogs. It’s trivial. It’s useless. Everyone does it, and no one really gives a damn what your opinion is—unless, of course, you’re someone who actually matters. I do not matter, and therefore the following blatantly disregards my previous statement. What does matter, however, is the possibility that I make a good point. And that as you carry on through whatever world you live in, you hopefully take a step back every now and again and think more critically about the ads you see. Here it goes:
For heaven’s sake, if you’re an ad agency, pay attention to the ads around you. And when I say pay attention, I don’t mean pay attention enough to steal an idea and make it your own. I mean recognize a good idea, appreciate it, and then come up with something original. A great ad:
Everyone’s well aware of the successes of the Old Spice campaign. Wieden+Kennedy continues to blow us away with great ideas. What it didn’t know, however, was that it was pushing the door wide open to what I’ll call “Man’s Man” ideas. But it wasn’t the first.
Dos Equis came out with “The Most Interesting Man in the World” campaign in 2006—four years before the Old Spice guy. This campaign has some of the best writing I’ve ever seen. I don’t know if there’s anything cleverer on TV right now.
Was the Dos Equis campaign the first to use the “Man’s Man” idea? Of course not. But I’d argue these two campaigns have led the way to a plethora of repeats. It’s true that ideas have 10- to 20-year life cycles. These two spots, however, created a voice and a tone. Being able to do a million things while still keeping his composure is what makes a man a man, it seems. These spots opened the floodgates. And now, I can’t stand to watch people recycle them over and over.
Old Spice Man’s Man Rip-Off, Exhibit A
Old Spice Man’s Man Rip-Off, Exhibit B (Can’t seem to find the original. Sorry!)
Dos Equis Man’s Man Rip-Off, Exhibit C
There are obviously so many more. And I recognize there are ads that preceded Dos Equis that are similar in nature (think Burger King’s “Scent of Seduction” ad and all the rip-offs that followed that). But do people not notice this? Have you noticed it? What’s your opinion?
I leave you with a parallel from Hollywood. If you’re going to be a screenwriter, let’s try to write a film that isn’t a complete rip-off of the story you just wrote.
Author: Eric Swenson