Less genius, more courage

Modern marketing is becoming more about heart than mind.

General Mills announces that it will only work with ad agencies that have 50% women and 20% people of color in their creative departments.

Bravo.

That’s a great piece of marketing for them.

REI closes on Black Friday. The biggest retail day of the year.

Red Bull throws a man out of a space ship in front of millions of viewers not knowing whether Felix will go splat on the earth — in front of millions.

None of these are what we might call genius ideas. And none of them are peculiar to those brands. P&G could have said the same thing as General Mills. Patagonia (no slouch on the bravery stakes) could have closed on Black Friday. Any energy drink or Go Pro could have chucked Felix out of a plane. But they didn’t.

Anyone who has spent time in an agency (a good agency) knows these are the sort of ideas agency and clients often talk about in meetings but never ever happen.

Part of being good at this stuff is recognizing when an idea is great. Does it fit, is it doable? Is it prescient? But really the main thing is just having the guts to go out and do something different, something meaningful.

We know that the REI and Red Bull ideas were hugely successful. Their bravery was rewarded. The results were meaningful.

Hopefully we’ll be able to say the same thing for General Mills in the coming years.

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