Memos from the Department of Common Sense

I thought I’d kick the week off with a short refresher course in the bleeding obvious. 

Drawn squarely from the well of personal opinion, none of what I’m about to impart will come as a surprise to anyone with an ounce of gumption.

For others, principally those in the thrall of our industry’s latest fads, gimmicks, and bright shiny objects, I live in the hope that these simple maxims might serve as a gentle corrective. 

Yeah, I know, fat chance.

So, anyway, here we go.


Memos from the Department of Common Sense

1: If your Creative Brief won’t fit on one page, it isn’t brief enough.

2: How long does it take for a creative to come up with a great idea? 5 seconds? 5 minutes? 5 hours? 5 days? Exactly. No one knows. So please stop obsessing over timesheets.

3: Clear direction and a little space to think is still the best way to get great work out of a creative team.

4: You will never hear of Blockchain again. 

5: There is not a single ad person over 50 who doesn’t “get” social.

6: A banner ad is just an outdoor board at the top of a web page. 

7: Let’s use radio more, damn it!

8: One day we’ll look back on the Influencer Marketing fad and have a good chuckle to ourselves.

9: Dig deep. It increases your chances of creating work that no one’s seen before by 100%.

10: Experiential is like VAR in football: Just because you can, doesn’t mean you should.

11: If you don’t have the talent to put something back together again, please refrain from tearing it down.

12: The quality of an ad is inversely proportionate to the number of people needed to approve it.

13: “Cheap, good and fast – pick two” isn’t dead. It’s not even unwell.

14: Instead of letting legal find reasons why something can’t be said or done, how about we ask them to find reasons why it can?

15: No one ever saved themselves to success.

16: Brand Purpose will be dead in the water as soon as the adults get back from lunch.

17: If the client rejects the work 3 times, the problem’s not the work. It’s the brief.

18: The appeal of Gary Vaynerchuk is one of the great mysteries of modern marketing. 

19: There is strong evidence to suggest that there just as many good creatives on outside looking in as there are on the inside looking out. 

20: Agile training teaches managers how to run a project from start to finish. Shouldn’t they know this already?

21: No good ever came of focus groups. 

22: Data may be able to deliver an ad in the right place at the right time, but without a good idea, it’s worth diddly squat.

23: An inclusive company culture goes wide and deep. Sadly, most are narrow and shallow.

24: In any downsizing or layoff, the people who really need to be canned are seldom the ones that are.

25: Car ads will start getting better any day now.


That’s it. 

Stay tuned for another exciting installment soon.

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