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In Praise of Negativity.

March 9, 2015 at 1:50pm by Angus Tucker

After a creative presentation, there is no easier way to kill a creative idea than to suggest that it is "negative". But be careful when you do so because you just might be killing the best, most effective work you will ever be a part of.

Take the most famous ad this country has ever done - Ogilvy's brilliant "Evolution" which launched Dove's "Campaign for Real Beauty". After seeing a woman turned into an almost unrecognizable photoshopped version of herself, we see the super: "No wonder our perception of beauty is distorted."

While it's easy to see its brilliance now, on paper, that idea was a total buzzkill - cynical, depressing, and dark. But it was truthful. Devastatingly so. What woman (or man) didn't look at that film and go "Hell, yeah! They're right! Why is that the only definition of beautiful?"

When an advertiser has the courage to acknowledge that the world isn't perfect, we can connect with people in ways that you simply can't when we pretend that the world is all sunshine and roses.

And we also start to sound less like advertisers and more like people.

Here's the most recent example of an advertiser acknowledging a negative about their own product - Fitbit knew that many people (me, for one) don't actually use their Fitbits once they get them. They wear them for a week and then stop and go back to their usual unfit lifestyles once New Year's is over.

So they acknowledged that truth by parodying their own commercial (hilariously so) and then launched a CSR program with Feed America that will not only feed the homeless but sell a ton of Fitbits at the same time. Check it out here.

And remember that in today's world, a negative can be a huge positive.



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On the blog of john you’ll find short articles written by our people. It will include thoughts and opinions on advertising, brand strategy, planning, digital, social media, design, careers, pop culture and relevant trends.