Some people have bigger feet than others. Some people have higher IQ’s than others.
Some people have exceptionally big feet. Some people benefit from extreme intelligence.
Key word = exceptionally.
Key word = extreme.
In fact most people have feet that are slightly bigger or slightly smaller than the average foot size. Ditto for IQ.
Statisticians would describe this with a Normal Distribution graph.
Ignore the scary maths symbols. If this were a normal distribution of foot size, the horizontal axis would correspond to the size of foot and the vertical axis to the percentage of people with feet of a particular size.
The peak in the graph would correspond to the average, and most common, foot size.
And, in this example, (borrowed from wikipedia) 68.2% of people would have feet that are slightly bigger or slightly smaller than average.
13.6% of people would have noticeably big feet.
Another 13.6% would have feet that are noticeably small.
2.1% would have exceptionally big feet.
And 0.1% would have ‘extreme’ feet.
This kind of distribution applies to all sorts of natural phenomena and to just about every field of human endeavour. Some people are taller, some people are better at sport etc. Most people are either side of the average. But some, the very few, are exceptional or extreme.
This also applies to ads or to any kind of ‘content’.
Most ads on TV are slightly better or slightly worse than average. Some are good. But very few are awesome.
And your content needs to be awesome if you have designs on it going viral.
For awesome read keyword exceptional or keyword extreme.
But ‘viral’ briefs are put into the same systems, worked on by the same people, and quality controlled by the same clients that churn out largely average content.
The same people, systems and cultures that, in many cases, are hardwired to avoid the extreme.
Key phrase = head above the parapet.
And yet some planners, creatives and clients seem to think that because their brief carries the word ‘viral’ at the top, the resulting content has some kind of divine right to be distributed for free by millions of hapless ‘consumers’.
(They might as well write ‘abracadabra’ at the top for all the wishful that writing ‘viral’ entails.)
Let’s assume (like most ad agency people still do) that ‘viral’ content is video content.
With over 20 hours of video uploaded to YouTube every minute, what is it that you’re going to do differently with this brief to give your viral a chance of going viral?
Let’s face it. Unless you’re going to relax some rules, unless you’re going to lose the usual commercial safety nets, unless you’re going to embrace extremity, the odds are stacked against you.
Let’s face it. Even if you relax some rules, even if you lose the commercial safety nets, even if you embrace extremity, the odds are stacked against you.
It probably won’t happen.
(Thanks to Andy Irvine for the bell curve of awesomeness image).