It's that time of year again, kids. Right now, across the continent, writers and art directors in agencies and in-house creative departments are struggling to come up with concepts for back-to-school. Every year it gets harder and every year it seems as if it's all been done before.
Is there anything more difficult than coming up with decent ideas for annual retail events like Christmas, Valentine's Day, Thanksgiving, or Halloween? Having once been the author of "Back to S'Cool'" I can attest to the difficulty in keeping it fresh.
And yes, I AM ashamed of that line. Maybe I was tired. Maybe I was frustrated. Maybe I had too many other jobs on the go. Doesn't matter. I own it. And it wouldn't die. In fact, an ex-colleague of mine, Randy Allan, repeated it back to me whenever he wanted to bring me down a peg or two. He'd say it very slowly, enunciating hard on the break between the S and the C, raising his eyebrows like Groucho Marx and smirking all the while.
The lesson? Even though it's really hard to be fresh for events that aren't, it's worth it to keep plugging away until you can surprise yourself. It will take longer and you'll have to dig deeper, but believe me it will be worth it not to have a hack heading or concept haunt you for the rest of your days.
Each year, if you look very hard, you WILL find that SOMEBODY has broken the cliché barrier. Shouldn't it be you?