On the back of discussing a PR idea I have with a friend, he regaled a story of when he joined an ad agency called Dolphin. This was quite a few years back (where are Dolphin now?) and at the time the only place where stories about advertising ran was in Campaign magazine, a weekly trade rag. My friend was quite a bit larger in those days and wasn’t bothered about exploiting his weight for whatever fame it might bring him. The idea behind his devilish master plan was to take a ‘tasteful/artful’ picture of himself in the bath and attach the headline “Whale joins Dolphin”. This plan/stunt was to make the press release irresistible to the editor and the front page was to be his, or at least the back page – if his profile didn’t justify the front then his humour would most definitely deserve the back. Of course it goes without saying that he got neither of these positions and the story was filed in the bin.
When I heard his story it made me laugh out loud and highlighted how much has changed since the heady days of 80’s/90’s advertising and the desperate measures people would go to for attention. This idea was before it’s time and had my friend been fortunate enough to still be whale sized and starting a job in an agency called Dolphin, then he could have made his idea fly himself with no need for a publication to give generously of their column inches. Clearly there would be people out there in his industry who would have discovered the image and shared it if they thought it was amusing.
This got me thinking about how many great ideas have been generated over the decades only to have been suffocated at birth due to the systems that were in place at the time. What have we missed out on from some of the most creative thinkers of all time, who simply never had the tools we have at our disposal today. Right now I mourn the loss of these ideas, but I’m sure the next time I see some desperate plea for attention on a blog or aggregator site somewhere by some desperate young ad guy, I’ll get over it.
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