Yesterday I got on my client’s corporate jet and flew to Nebraska to take the plant tour, thereby violating Fenske’s Anti-Law #9.
What can I say? Private jets are fun, even when you’re going to a factory in Nebraska in January. It’s like my children, when they were little: they thought the coolest part of any trip, whether it was DisneyWorld or the Berkshires or LA, was room service.
Clients like creatives to take the plant tour because there’s the possibility they’ll see something there to inspire them creatively; also maybe because they secretly delight in seeing smartypants hipsters so far out of their comfort zones. But the truth is, beyond a certain point, additional knowledge about how a product is made isn’t usually helpful. It either bores people or tears away their illusions (e.g., hot dogs).
Still, spending a day with people who live outside the irony zone and care to an incredible degree about making the best product they can, can get a guy pretty motivated about making ads, so going on the plant tour accomplished its goal, if not in the way the client intended.
Fenske is dead wrong. You need three things to create great advertising, money, time and information. The last is the most important. You might find that nugget in the factory, you might not. But if you don’t get your arse out to Nebraska, you’ll never know. You can sit all night in Balthazar, or Pastis or even in NoBu with Julie, and come up with nothing. But ten minutes watching them kill pigs, might… Just might… make you arrive at a better way to sell bacon. Or it might stop you eating it ever again. Either way, it won’t have been a wasted trip. Fenske’s rule is bullshit… But then again, aren’t all rules?>Cheers/George