Creative Bankruptcy – by Michael Laskin
The world appears to be spinning out of control. Chaos seems to be zeitgeist of
our times. In the worlds of William Butler Yeats:
Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all convictions, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.
The center cannot hold…..wow. Heavy. Very heavy.
I suppose you thought this piece was going to be clever and entertaining. That
Yeats is such a downer – he’s soooo 19th century. Which only proves to us that
things truly never change. The end of the world has always been near, and chaos
is, if not just around the corner, clearly visible down the block.
Against this cataclysmic backdrop the persuaders of the world have a difficult challenge. When it seems like nothing really works, they usually just go back to the old tried-and-
true – with predictably mediocre results.
Alka-Seltzer has just recycled its iconic “I can’t believe I ate the
whole thing” campaign. Great in its day, but do they really believe that anyone under 50 remembers? Or cares? Not to mention a few minor cultural, social and scientific changes that have occurred since it first aired in the sixties: Google, MTV, hybrid cars, sushi in Kentucky and online dating to mention a few. And, oh yes, medications such as Tagamet and Prilosec that make Alka-Seltzer seem ancient.
Can “Where’s the beef?” be far behind? I expect we’ll see it in the next sweeps.
Summer movies are based on old TV shows. Not just any old TV shows, but really
bad old TV shows like “The Dukes Of Hazzard”, “Starsky and Hutch”, and
“Bewitched” (although I do have a guilty-pleasure relationship with Elizabeth
Montgomery). Let’s not challenge, let’s anesthetize. Let’s not create, let’s recycle.
Recycling is great for plastic. Period.
From the disorder of the times comes a retreat to our comfort zone. Creative
bankruptcy takes over like slowly falling dominoes.
When the world seems unruly, it is EXACTLY the time to try for the creative home
run. To cut through all the crap, a home run is required – or at least a very hard
double into the right field gap. Singles won’t get you home.
Why do we so often resist the creative home run? What are we afraid of? The
resistance comes from moving outside of the comfort zone – from the warmth of
familiarity to the chill of the unknown. How many times have you seen a really
creative approach used to market a product and thought, “I wish I’d thought of
that.” Well….you can’t think of that until you walk the plank. To find the real
creative treasure we all have to be willing to walk the plank, plunge in, and look
around. Nothing ventured, nothing gained. It’s really very simple. Taking the
plunge is the hard part. Once you’re wet, you might as well snorkel around a bit
and see what treasures lie below you.