Take Something Boring and Make It Beautiful

My favourite ideas involve products or tools that no sane creative person would bother with. You know the sort; high fibre cereal, wall paint, dog food, the stuff that surrounds us but has no coolness attached to it at all. No one has ever seen a good idea involving these woeful waifs and they don’t expect that to ever change. Until someone does exactly that, and we never forget those ideas.

Many years ago a VW Beetle was turned into a Lemon.

A few years ago we turned a boring “Square Shreddie” into a perfectly lovely “Diamond Shreddie”. An idea so ludicrous it’s found it’s way into TED talks, textbooks, economics and behavioural books, and more than a few speeches by people who’ve never even eaten a Shreddie.

Not so long ago TBWA/Chiat/Day turned Pedigree dog food into a call to arms for our hairy pets with, “We’re For Dogs”. It sounds so obvious now.

Last month we turned the media planners domain of “keyword targeting” into a consumer friendly self-esteem tool with the Dove Ad Makeover. An idea so radical that it’s attracted the kind of scrutiny that gets people into trouble.

All of these ideas have done a fine job of selling more product, improving brand love and being famous among connoisseurs of advertising. But most importantly they’ve taken the dull, dreary and boring and given it new life.

Which brings me to something that desperately needs a great idea. It’s something that nearly a billion people theoretically see on a regular basis. They’re a throwback to the classifieds ads of newsprint and they’re without doubt dull, dreary and boring. I’m talking about the small space, 90 character, 110px image, Facebook ad.

They need some love. Everybody (even you) has given up on them as ever being truly memorable. Even if they are “liked by a friend”, “sponsored” and “in your timeline”, it all feels like a last gasp attempt at polishing a turd.

Therein lies greatness. If only some brave soul would rise to the seemingly impossible challenge and do something good with these pixels.

Just remember that you could be the subject of a TED talk, quoted in books, name dropped at conferences and loved by the advertising fraternity for breathing life into the unloved Facebook ad.

The boring can be beautiful if you’re creative enough.

First published on the OgilvyOne blog: sellorelse.com