Month: February 2008

Different can hit deeper

My pal Jesse Thomas posted this on his blog. Its a heartfelt, artistic, creative and just lovely tribute to Obama. But its not just a tribute to Obama – its a tribute to doing something very differently.

It redefines the bar for political videos or ads. It follows no formula. I’m not (necessarily) an Obama person.

If we’re striving to be transformational – to knock it completely out of the park, we need to be willing to reconceive the status quo. Its difficult to describe a product to someone without using something else as a frame of reference. But its impossible to create something transformational by using something else as a standard. I’m sure a guy could say something about that huge Giants play in the Super Bowl here that would be apropos. All I can say is that this video, for a presidential candidate, is a million times better than anything that came before it, and bears almost no resemblance to any other political ad I’ve ever seen.

The painfully obvious corollary point: Just because the successful people all do it a certain way doesn’t mean we all should. “Bill Clintons ads all do this”. “Facebook does it this way”. “Well, that’s the standard”. I just don’t want to hear it.

The old way is fine, and can suffice, can be improved upon and leveraged. But if you’re thinking bigger, If you have passion, if you have vision, you can do it different and make something that is so much better. Of course this isn’t enough to be successful. You still need to connect that vision to the market. You need to find a channel to that market, and you need to make it useful and fabulous. But its one of those necessary (if insufficient) components.

The Mac, Sesame Street, Catch 22, Craigslist, Google and on and on. What’s the most different and most successful re-thinking of a product that you’ve seen?