“The hardest thing to realize in fashion is that the future lies in the past. The second hardest thing is to forget the past.” Cathy Horyn, NYT 7/5/12
These words are true for branding and advertising as well. Creative ideas that break through must be new and unique. Retreads are boring. Yet, it’s important for ideas to offer some attendant context. It’s easier to remember numbers in patterns; the same is true for ideas. That’s why alliterations are common idea conventions. ZDNet’s original strategy “content, commerce and community,” for instance.
How does one explain the Higgs boson (creating matter out of nothing) without some context? Not very easily. Same thing with string theory. These are some of the world’s most heady concepts. They need context. Conversely, how do you give life to a new lemonade that is less sweet, or a cookie dough that is more natural? As Cathy Horyn suggests “forget the past.” Find context for selling premise (create bias toward purchase) then be fresh. Really fresh. Uncomfortably fresh.
Either Walter Weir or John Caples (godfathers of copywriting) once said “good copy sounds like copy.” That was then. Seventeen billion words of copy ago. Today fresh wins the day. Peace.