There, but for the grace of God, go we

Posted on January 30th, 2006

Every time Jamie and I start a new project, two unspoken fears hang over us like twin swords of Damocles. The first, of course, is that this will be The One. This will be the time the well goes dry and we're unable to generate even a single good idea, ending the pathetic charade of our careers and finally exposing us as the talentless hacks we secretly know we've always been.

That's not even the really scary one. That, at least, would be a comparatively private humiliation kept between us, our Creative Director and the clerical staff at Welfare Canada.

No, the really scary one is the fear that we will come up with something good. Brilliant even. A concept so perfect for the category it's unbelievable nobody's every thought of it before. Which, of course, somebody has. Repeatedly.

The only thing worse than coming up with a totally original idea that turns out to be a decade old is creating something genuinely innovative that launches the day after your competitor does the exact same thing. Pray you can stop it in time.

I'd like to think that even we aren't stupid enough to rip off a Cannes Grand Prix winner. But I wouldn't bet money on it, either.


-Graham, Metal Pig

P.S. Gung hay fat choy!


C'mon, we've all been there. It just happened to Graham and I (luckily we caught it before it went to client). First there's the epiphany. The elation. Another triumph. We nailed it!. A Lion for sure. Then you google it to be certain it's a unique concept, or some dude down the hall sees the ad on the printer or something and decides to break the bad news to you. Then comes the sick feeling — like blunt testicular trauma. Then the denial: “I swear to Christ, it was an accident!” Suuuuure it was, (hack).

It's no surprise that it happens though. Similar categories, similar briefs. It's only natural that some people would come to similar creative solutions. But some are way too similar. Like the stuff Apple has had their share of troubles with lately. Judge for yourself:

Apple lugz \

Apple Postal Service

The sad reality is that it will continue to happen. On your best work. Maybe once you see an ad it goes into your subconscious stockpile of creative nuggets. Then resurfaces when you least expect it. I doubt anyone intentionally plagiarizes an ad. That would be career suicide. After all, how many times have you seen a brilliant award winning campaign and said to your partner “Shit, we presented that concept a year ago!” Technically that's your Award. You go get it.


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