I freely admit that I would have aborted Abba, Snuggie and Pet Rock before any one of them had a detectable heartbeat. And that, in both cases, I would have been wrong.
On the other hand, some ideas really do deserve an early death sentence
I still look back with gratitude at the time a magazine publisher saved me from myself. She said, “I will run this ad as-is if you insist, but have you thought about...” Actually, no, I hadn’t thought about. I took a moment to do so and realized she was right. Good thing. The ad would have been a disaster. There you have an example of someone who was right to a bit of idea-killing.
We creative people don’t like admitting that. When we gather at advertising association luncheons to whine, we characterize as myopic every boss or client who doesn’t instantly embrace every concept we put forth. The underlying assumptions are that: (1) all of our ideas are great; and (2) anyone who doesn’t agree is a fuddyduddy. Neither assumption is de facto reliable.
So it is with a word of caution that I share a list of 100 idea killers by Michael Iva, president and creative director of Qually & Company. A few of them sound like common sense to me. “Let’s wait till we see the numbers” might have saved Old Spice from wasting money on further installments of the popular but impotent “I’m on a horse” campaign. “It’s politically incorrect” might have saved Sony from introducing its white Playstation with billboards showing a white woman angrily grasping a black woman by the jaw. “Be realistic” might have saved Hillary Clinton from looking foolish attacking Barack Obama for a self-portrait-as-president he’d drawn in second grade.
Nor am I fond of the sermon Iva delivers after his list, wherein once or twice he at least appears to champion the above-referenced underlying assumptions.
Notwithstanding, most of the items on Iva’s list are dead-on examples of irresponsible idea-killing. So, with my thanks for your having indulged my caveats, go ahead and click here for a look at Iva’s list. How many times have you beat your head against the wall of irresponsible idea killers like many of those he lists? How many times have you wielded such idea killers yourself against someone else’s ideas? Equally important: how many times have you railed against the few responsible ones?