I once wrote a series of TV commercials (with my art director partner Rich Dahl) for the Bank of America that was called the “Why Not?” campaign. It was all about dreaming what is possible. It was all about being visionary. And it was perfect for the bank. They didn’t produce the campaign the way I had originally wanted. We did a hybrid campaign, mashing two ideas together to create something new. And I was never happy with the final result.
But last night I had a dream about the campaign. I hadn’t thought about it for over 10 years, since the campaign was produced in 2000. When I woke up, I remembered that the original “Why Not?” campaign also came to me in a dream. I wrote down these words (and many others) at 2 AM in a notebook next to my bed:
There will always be skeptics.
People who know the price of everything and the value of nothing.
You know them.
They say it will never work. Never happen. Never fly.
But the next time they tell you all the logical reasons why it can’t be done.
Just remember all the times that they have been wrong.
But last night, I wasn’t dreaming about the bank or an old campaign. I was dreaming about my job. My dream was telling me to press on. To keep moving forward. That even when things seem impossible, we have to keep looking forward. Keep inventing. Keep trying. Never give up.
Yes, there will always be skeptics. Healthcare advertising can’t be creative. It has to be one way. It can’t have a human voice or insight. But they’re wrong.
There will always be those who do not value what we do. They don’t understand the blood, sweat and tears we bring to the office everyday. And we do it with one purpose in mind – to make their brands succeed.
Every day, someone will tell us what we do will never work, never happen, never fly. We must continue to reach for the stars and not settle for the expected. We must go back and find another way. We must have think skin and short memories.
And of course, someone will show us research – and tell us all the logical reason why it can’t be done. It’s our job to remind them all the times research has been wrong. That sometimes when you’re trying to change an industry, you have to do things in the face of logic.
What we’re doing is hard. We’re trying to envision a world of endless creativity in an incredibly regulated industry. But I think you know what I say to that.
In case you’re curious – here’s a link to the Bank of America spot from 2000.