Scamp has written a really good piece about ideas and their appropriation by advertising. It specifically talks about the Cadbury’s Gorilla and the fact that it was originally pitched to someone else, and there was once a drumming Gorilla on YouTube.
As I was reading it, I found myself going: “Oooooooh, how could they be so bold”. And my scandal alarm started beeping.
Then I read the comments and this jumped out at me:
You brits are funny. you take the business of advertising so seriously.
So I decided that ‘Yank’ was right, I shouldn’t give a toss really.
It’s a bloody advert that looks and feels like a really great YouTube clip that turns out to be something that’s a bit like something that was an ad for something else that someone found on YouTube.
Then I started thinking about the poor bloke who made the original ad. I bet he’s sitting down the pub delivering a monologue to a deaf pint about how he could have been a contender. But at least his reel has got something on it that he can claim as the inspiration for something that’s loads better than the thing he made, and he can say – “see my idea was brilliant, I just didn’t have the right budget, the right client, yada yada yada”. Thankfully no-one changed it into a drumming Walrus or something, then his claim to fame would have been almost impossible to make.
So I stopped feeling sorry for the original gorilla creator. Christ, he’ll probably get interviewed on some advertising blog about it one day. And who could ask for more than that!
Then I started feeling sorry for the original guy in the gorilla suit. He’s the unsung hero of the whole thing. For him it was just a case of the wrong gorilla guy being in the wrong place at the wrong time.
Anyway I’m trying not to care about it. There’s a global ideas-squeeze on, and I’ve not got time to be worrying about such things. There’s an internet full of things to be looked at and re-processed and re-appropriated.
As part of his piece Scamp has some sage advice about dealing with the ideas recession, it’s the creative equivalent of keeping tins of food in a bunker in the back garden if you ask me:
Have an efficient filing system for your rejected work, because a lot of briefs come up time and time again (this product is simple to use, this product is inexpensive, or in the case of Cadbury’s – this product will make you happy).
And have an efficient storage area for funny photos, YouTube clips, news articles – things that one day you may be able to make into an ad. Because as someone once said, “the worst time to be looking for an idea is when you actually need one.”
However, I’d just like to add that you have to be careful that you don’t cling onto your rejected ideas too much or you’ll end up being a brain crack addict. Honestly you will.