It’s been far too long since I wrote anything here. I think after writing JukeboxDiary for the first half of the year and then starting in a new role I think blogging has taken a back seat.
But I’ve missed it, and I hope to write more this year. To kick things off I thought I’d share two stories I heard right at the end of last year.
Actually it’s the same story, told twice.
One story was something my wife heard on the radio. It was about a woman who is very keen on Christmas decorations. She put them up all over the house, including outside. Bright, flashing, no doubt pretty garish, Christmas lights. The sort of Christmas lights that might possibly create a safety hazard to passing aircraft.
I can’t think the neighbours were too keen. Neither was the woman’s husband, apparently.
Just before Christmas, the woman received a letter from the nearby airport. One in the Midlands, I can’t quite remember where. The letter made the polite but official request that she take her Christmas lights down.
They were creating a safety hazard to passing aircraft.
The second story was told to me by someone in my team. She is funny and smart. She writes funny and smart content for brands that we work with. When she was young she desperately wanted a TV for her bedroom. Her Mum wouldn’t let her. My colleague didn’t like that answer and so she did some research. She looked into what benefits there were to children watching TV.
The internet, as is its way, gave her what she needed. TV can be good for education, expanding horizons, social currency, the need for mental downtime… all sorts of things my colleague felt pretty sure wouldn’t convince her Mum.
So rather than try to persuade her Mum, she wrote a letter. But she didn’t write it as herself. She pretended she was a child psychologist. In this letter the child psychologist advised her Mum of the benefits of TV to children. He recommended that, if she had any, she should probably think about letting them have a TV in the room.
It didn’t work. Her Mum saw straight through it.
But the woman with the Christmas lights didn’t.
Because it wasn’t the airport that sent her the letter. It was her husband.
One story, told twice. Both instances are fantastic instances of creativity.
The woman’s husband and my colleague were in the same position. Their point of view was being ignored. They tried to overcome indifference to their message with an imaginative leap, executed with smarts and humour. They each made sure the message came from someone their audience was more likely to earn their attention than they were themselves.
How many of us would thought of it? How many would have dared go through with it?
I don’t know what the woman’s husband does for a living. But I’m willing to bet he doesn’t put the Christmas lights story on his CV.
But anyone who could come up with an idea like the child psychologist’s letter should do just that. They will always have a place in advertising.