Or, maybe it's also because, like so many skunkworks projects and unknown change agents, the most innovative thinking and transformational ideas surface by sneaking up through the middle of our industry, rather than being bestowed on the world from the top down.
I would venture to say that such is the case with Ogilvy/Canada's viral video phenom, Dove's "Evolution" -- winner of both Cyber and Film Lions at last month's Cannes Advertising Festival. This should be a wake-up call to all of us that, from YouTube to your tube, the medium isn't the message.... the message is!
So what can we learn from a breakthrough piece of creative work like this?
1) The evolution will not be televised. While big advertising ideas and great storytelling have traditionally been reserved for the craft of the :30 televised commercial, the world of online video, viral or not, has become just as legitimate a source for both branded information and entertainment as television has -- when it's done right.
2) The desktop has democratized execution. Grabbing a digital camera and executing an idea from your gut may not always start out on a creative brief, but rather, in the new lab known as your laptop computer. Got an idea? Show, don't just tell.
3) Advertisers will either "be" the content via longer-form, brand-centric infotainment, or "sponsor" the content with honest, entertaining spots like this one that offers brand truths that overlap with real consumer truths -- in this case, extending the definition of real beauty by showing what it isn't -- and then standing up to educate teen girls who are being seduced by the pink jungle to, instead, emulate what beauty "really" is.
4) Video production skill sets once reserved for the bastion of big TV agencies are slowly beginning to reside in the halls and cubbyholes of digital agencies, while concurrently, technologists are suddenly appearing in the brainstorming sessions of traditional creative shops. This is a good thing.
5) When you have a big idea, it shows. Again and again. It writes itself in different ways in different hands. Dove's "Real Beauty," expressed one way in traditional American media, took on an entirely new expression in the hands of the Canadian creatives who saw it just a little differently.
What this kind of evolution also proves is that these are opportunistic times for creatives and creators who are ready to take some chances and stretch out on an idea. It takes inspiration, guts, a spirit of independence and the tools to bring them to life. Waiting around for test scores, or wondering if there will be enough production dollars remaining after the TV campaign is shot to leave room for other video projects, won't get you far.
Maybe far enough to enter them in Cannes. That's the easy part.
Winning? Well now, that requires real beauty!