Someone once said “Talent imitates, genious steals”. Some times that might be relevant and true, but to me, the mind-set behind that statement is exactly what is saturating the advertising industry, to an extent where it has become counter productive for our business and, to an even greater extent, our clients. To me authenticity and innovation continues to be two of the most essential drivers in advertising (and any business for that matter). If you are authentic and innovative, doing your own thing so to speak – you earn respect and credit. Everyone seems to realize and understand that – both clients and agencies. But instead of being authentic, clients and brands, and we as the consultants who guide them, continuously seek the easy way out. We look [read: steal and imitate] for authenticity from others who already have it, instead of creating and building our own. We tap into existing domains/projects/organisations that have already obtained authenticity, and hope their values, credibility and coolness will rub off on our brand. That can hardly be regarded as authentic nor innovative. Our business is heralded as being “creative”, yet to often, our creativity is limited to banal incremental innovation, imitation and sometimes stealing. I know that this debate has been ongoing, I know that there are thousands of arguments and reasons out there for why our industry has succumbed to this virtual state of creative stagnation. But that doesn’t make it less depressing… You don’t need to be talented or a genius to imitate and steal. You need to be talented (and sometimes a genius) to create and innovate.
Just needed to get that off my chest