When I was a kid, I used to be pretty funny. So funny that kids would gather around me at recess and just listen to me tell funny stories while delivering them in a myriad of strange voices.
One kid who used to listen to me was a much more charismatic and confident person for their age. He hung out with a large variety of kids — from the not-so-known to the most popular. He’d use my jokes to entertain them, come back to listen to me at recess and repeat. If you asked anyone what they thought of him at the time, they would probably tell you he was the funniest kid in the world. And the truth was I didn’t mind that at all. The people who were closest to me still knew the jokes he borrowed were mine, and I really enjoyed and valued our friendship.
But in the back of my head, I always wondered, “Do I really need him?” Why I couldn’t be just like him? Why were the two of us so different? Was it the way we were raised? How much money our parents made? The colour of our skin? What we brought for lunch? Who knows!
All I knew is that we both needed each other and enjoyed one another’s company to an extent.
This somewhat symbiotic relationship seemed to have followed me all the way into my adulthood and into the industry I currently work in. (Advertising)
Big brands (Pepsi, Apple, Old Spice) are just popular kids stealing other kids jokes. They come into ad agencies, buy all the ideas, resulting in endless praise from society, when in theory, the person you should be following, retweeting, hasthtagging, liking, praising, giving a BJ too, are still sitting in a cubicle maze at 11PM on a Thursday, coming up with their next brand play.
Strip away all the creativity, entertainment and comedy and you’re left with another person trying to sell you something. Not really what cool kids are made of, if I must say.
Imagine a world where brands partnered up with ad agency “creatives” in a similar to the way artists collaborate with each other; both parties would be known and be recognized..and it could still be a very big deal. Companies like DDB, TBWA, Y&R, BBDO — these would be brand names that society would flock in hordes to see what amazing thing they have come up with.
So what’s holding us back from this perfect world? Well.. you have one person just trying to sell you something, and then you have another person who does really cool shit, to put it bluntly.
Why would you even get the first person involved? What do they even have to offer? And the answer is money. Money that the second person doesn’t have, money that you’re not willing to give them and that is why they sit in the shadow of their brand master. It takes a great idea, hard hustling and a lot of luck to spread a message and make it known. Put some money behind it and it suddenly becomes much easier.
I’m not sure what the point to all of this is. I just find it interesting that my childhood behavior has made way into my professional career. But maybe it’s a sign of things to come.
Because at the end of it all, the same kid who used to borrow my jokes made me a sandwich in between a commercial shoot not too long ago.
I had someone else run in and get it for me though. I couldn’t face him in person. And i’m sure i’ll react similarly when i’m staring at a brand I used to work for decades from now.