If you've been in the ad agency business for a while, you've most assuredly have heard of Lawson Clarke, aka MaleCopywriter . His whole schtick, going back more than ten years, is pimping himself out as a freelancer by positioning himself as a sort of seventies porn star, complete with Burt Reynolds-esque nude pose on a bear skin rug. But let's be clear. In real life, he's the most awesome guy you could ever meet.
Why do I bring up MaleCopywriter? Well, a Toronto-based ad agency, The Garden, is out with a new business promotion that involves a Travelocity-esque Garden Gnome and yes, a mostly nude man posing on a bearskin rug. The man is Dic Dickerson (yes, that is his real name) and Dic has decided to pose nude-ish to Promote The Garden Gnome, a new business effort designed to tout the agency's focus on project work.
The Garden Gnome is, as the press release makes note, like the Bat Phone and can be used to summon instant creative assistance. With a simple push of a button, the 12-inch-tall gnome immediately sends out a distress signal -- actually an e-mail -- to The Garden’s managing director, Dic Dickerson. Each gnome is created on an as-needed basis using 3D printing technology and uses proprietary chip-based technology instead of WiFi or Bluetooth to connect prospective clients with the agency at the touch of a button.
Ideally, the agency would love to have these gnomes on the desks of marketing directors the world over so that when they have a creative need, all they need do is press the button and the agency will reach out. It's sort of like those Amazon Dash buttons that instantaneously summon whatever you might need from the online retailer.
The Garden is promoting the gnome with a Web site featuring a faux infomercial starring Dickerson. It's filmed with an 80s TV-style washed-out look and shows Dickerson suggestively posing with the gnome in some kind of effort to woo potential clients. The video is filled with double entendres like "big problem with a small budget" and "finding a creative solution doesn't have to be so hard."
So apart from the kookiness of this stunt, let's examine the non-originality of the whole thing. One, they stole the Travelocity gnome idea. Two, they stole the MaleCopywriter schtick and third, they usurped the brilliance of the Amazon Dash button. Where's the creativity in that? When a brand manager pushes the button, is this what they're going to get; previously conceived ideas cobbled together and passed off as new?
Oh wait, it's an homage. That's right, an homage! Oh and, anyway, there are no new ideas left in this business so borrowing heavily is now standard operating procedure.