Is it stealing to use someone else’s ideas?

Posted: October 30, 2012 in Uncategorized

While on a visit to a small ad agency I was impressed to see their huge collection of Communication Arts magazines, Awards annuals and reams of other awards books.
“Inspiration” I thought. But boy was I wrong. It seems this library of award winners was not there for stimulating new ideas but rather it was fodder for their creative copying.
As I watched, all of the creative people thumbed their way through various issues every time they received a creative assignment. They tore, they copied, they scanned…before they ever sat down to think or brainstorm.
At one point I overheard the creative director and a writer arguing. The creative director clutched a tear of a series of ads in one hand and screamed at the writer saying: “here…here’s the idea. Just take this and rip it off”.
The writer seemed a bit stunned and replied ” Ya but it’s been done” . To which the CD replied “ya but you’ve never done it”.
Sadly, stealing other people’s ideas is a curse that is far too prevalent in the ad biz.
So here’s my solution. Before you set creatives on their task of creating new ideas, sit down and show them everything you can find that is relevant and HAS BEEN DONE!
Then, discuss the merits of these previously thought through campaigns. Finally, send the creatives off inspired by brilliant work and make one thing clear: You want something better, newer, more creative than any of the campaigns they have just reviewed.
Don’t settle for anything less than new solutions rooted in the history of the brilliant.

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