Here are the new, new rules for advertising success: Keep your creative staff crowded into a messy, pressure-cooker environment. Always be sure they don’t have enough time. Above all, create chaos.
A bit counterintuitive, hmm? That’s precisely the point of BANG! GETTING YOUR MESSAGE HEARD IN A NOISY WORLD by Linda Kaplan Thaler and Robin Koval (Doubleday & Company). The cofounders of Kaplan Thaler Group, which touts itself as the fastest-growing ad agency in the U.S. with $350 million in billings, created the AFLAC duck, the Toys “R” Us “I Don’t Wanna Grow Up” jingles, and numerous other mold-breakers.
The authors explain their success with the “Big Bang” theory of the universe: Big Bang ideas come out of nowhere and “expand exponentially in the culture.” Big Bangs also tend to be controversial. Some of their colleagues recoiled at the wacky AFLAC duck idea, noting that, after all, the company sells cancer insurance.
Kaplan Thaler and Koval encourage interruptions at meetings, trust intuition over logic, and believe good managers micromanage constantly. They also advise forgetting the big picture in favor of a “one-hour vision” because the future is simply too unpredictable. Some of their contrarian ideas seem like mere attention-getters; others are worth pondering — at least for an hour or so.