I Heart Negativity

Now, don’t get all uppity on me. I hate negativity in a brainstorm as much as the next guy.

No, I’m talking about ideas steeped in the “negative.” Let me explain. . .

A few years ago, Odor Eaters did a contest to find the smelliest sneaker in America. Pure genius. Put that one in the pile of “things I wish I thought of.” But, I betcha someone in a meeting said, “That’s too negative. We’re all about making sneakers smell nice and fresh. Wouldn’t it be better to find the BEST-smelling sneaker in America?”

No, that would have been idiotic, Mr. Imaginary Marketing Person. Why? Because smelliest is irreverent, fun, and – most of all – compelling! Honestly, isn’t the negative more interesting? Isn’t the best part of American Idol seeing the car accidents during the try-out period? Don’t we want to watch the carnage? Of course we do. Happy endings are nice . . . but nice don’t feed the bulldog.

(I have no idea what that last part meant, but I’ll assume you get my drift.)

The lesson is this – don’t be so down on negativity. Embrace it! Now, keep in mind that it should be relevant to the brand, acceptable by the audience and there needs to be a product-centric solution to whatever you’re finding. Put the worst sleeper in America in a Hilton hotel! Find the worst driver in America, and let Ford teach them how to drive! Find the worst creative director in the business and give him a job at Ketchum!

You see where I’m headed, right? Don’t be so negative about negativity. I’m positive you’ll like the results.