Crazy for crazy's sake is just crazy.

About four years into my career, I had the chance to oversee the work on the Missouri Lottery account. For a young guy working as a writer at an agency, this was exciting. The product was about fun and the thrill of maybe winning big. You could do some crazy stuff, as long as you could convince the client to buy it. As creatively freeing as that sounds, it bugged me. Our teams would come up with ideas to promote the latest game. Sometimes the ideas were just off the wall. They didn't have anything to do with anything about the game. They were just meant to get attention by being outrageous. I often found myself asking, "What does this mean?" After awhile, people on my team would tease me, knowing I was going to ask, "What does this mean?"

As a young guy in the business, I had doubts. Maybe I was overthinking this. Maybe it just needed to be crazy and cool.

Interest isn't caring

Crazy stunts. Wacky characters. That stuff can get you noticed. The trouble is that it doesn't have staying power.

I had a team member who argued it was our first job to spark interest. Yes, I agree. But if there is no meaning behind it, there's no reason to care. And if we want them to make a buying decision, we have to give them a reason to care.

This doesn't mean that we abandon the crazy stuff. The unexpected. It just means that we have to have meaning with it as well. I won't kid you. That's difficult. It's easy to do something crazy for crazy's sake. But it takes talent to find the meaning and then find an unexpected way to bring it to life.

Looking back, I now know my instinct was right. There has to be more than just sensationalism. More than just shocking someone into paying attention. There has to be meaning if we want people to care.

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