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For Advertisers, The Pen Is Mightier Than the Original Idea

01/08/2013 11:53 BST | Updated 30/09/2013 10:12 BST
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When it comes to video production, advertising, marketing and branding there are certain tropes and ideas that tend to get banded around and eventually overused. Much like in the fashion industry when an idea can be so good and so attention grabbing that it will be lifted from obscurity and the alternative into the moronic ubiquity of the mainstream.

With the onset of viral video and internet video advertising it has become more and more commonplace for agencies to chase down the elements of ideas and creative concepts and re-package them for their own ends. After the success of the Old Spice matter-of-fact and surrealist presenting style there has been a spate of copycat style ads that are all designed to cash in on those precious views.

Here's an Old Spice ad:

Now here's an ad for Johnny Walker:

Too easy.

Now whilst both are enjoyable to watch the whisky ad is obviously an insanely lazy attempt by the agency to cash in on some of that Old Spice viral humour.

On my travels around the web searching for good examples of creative video marketing there is one ad style that keeps popping up over and over again, for a variety of different products but always done in the same way. It is obviously very cost effective and the results can often look great but the fact is; the results always look the same.

I'm not talking about Harlem Shake, I'm not talking about Gangnam Style. I'm talking about the time-lapse, pen on a whiteboard, drawing a cartoon representation of the voice-over video style.

Here are three different brands all using the same style in chronological order:

2010 - RSA Animate:

2012 - The University Of York:

2013 - Jura Whisky:

This is probably one of the most tedious video concepts out there at the moment, especially with the fake scribbling sound accompanying the voice-over. The idea should be locked up in a vault with the STA Move: walking-towards-the-lens-whilst-the-background-changes idea.

If you're going to utilize a filmic style or pinch a bit of creative from someone else the key is to make it your own. You have to deconstruct the very workings of the idea and re-build it to suit your own brand. Shameless plagiarism and outright laziness when it comes to creating concepts will never play, especially online.

YouTube viewers might appear to be made up of idiotic hate-filled criminally insane 13 year-olds but they know what they like and they know what they've seen. Don't appeal to what they've liked before, work hard and create something new for them to enjoy.