I Heart Negativity

June 7, 2011

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.

As Creative and Insights Catalyst, Marc provides creative and strategic counsel to account teams and specialists to evolve program concepts from idea to execution.