The risk reward index. Or are you trying hard enough to embarras yourself?

Back in the days when I used to produce a lot of television spots, I sat through hundreds and hundreds of the most awkward auditions. Some were more like an American Idol outtakes show than you’d like to believe. Why? Because actors are willing to take huge risks to get an opportunity to do something great. Even if it means utter and shameful embarrassment.

That’s something advertising people are not too willing to do these days. Maybe because the job market is so tight that people aren’t willing to stick there neck out. Sure, we may be a media revolution these days, but we’re certainly not a creative one.

This lack of risk taking is in stark contrast to the hundreds of actors willing to make complete asses of themselves just to work on a television campaign. Standing out in that crowd is difficult to say the least. Actors seriously have to put it on the line every day if they’re going to do more than starve or wait tables. So it’s not only humbling to watch them do it, it’s very educational seeing other creative people taking risks that big.

We advertising people think we’re so creative but just how often do we put ourselves on the line in the same way. And I don’t mean by doing an edgy ad – that’s not risky, that’s expected. I mean doing something truly risky. Something that will get you called into the bosses office or called out by a client. Or worse, something that you could be embarrassed by suggesting.

So what’s truly risky? Using technology in a completely new way. Applying real creativity to a new media instead of letting concepts spin out of the print ads or TV spots – (remember the landscape has changed). What about not even presenting an ad at all. Or how about killing the big idea and presenting lots of little ones.

Are you willing to embarrass yourself by trying something risky?

Posted on: January 8, 2010, by :