“We do not dream. We simply work hard.”

If you haven’t seen it yet, this is essential reading.

 

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Sometimes all you need is a great line

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‘Help the police beat yourself up’ was a bit of graffiti I used to drive past on a railway bridge in Hackney. The author was clearly no Bansky: it was hastily and untidily applied in cheap spraypaint. But it was very powerful. It packed so much rage, fear, inequality, brutality, oppression, indignation and fuck you-ness…into six snarky words…that made you laugh. Which is no mean feat and reminded me that sometimes, when you have a powerful thought, all you need is a great headline. John Hegarty famously said that great work is “80% idea, 80% execution” but sometimes, when the idea is strong enough, it can stand up on its own without great execution.

I think the anti-littering campaign pictured below has been running for years in Australia. I’ve seen a few different iterations and none of them have been particularly well art directed. But it’s such a great line. Disruptive, in-your-face and very clear on what it’s telling you (not) to do, its combination of clarity and attitude make it very powerful. Just like the anti-smoking ad below it.

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This all got me thinking about the many pitches I’ve worked on which have been instantly transformed when some clever creative’s come up with one simple line. Or the great observational comments friends have dropped in pubs, which required no beautifully art-directed visual because they unfolded wonderfully within my mind. Or those brilliant tweets that nail an idea in 141 characters or less (“Every text conversation feels like bad sex where one person doesn’t get to finish.”)

So while it pains me to disagree with Sir John, I think sometimes great work can be 100% idea and 0% execution. Now I’m off to do my bit for the boys in blue and give myself a kicking.