August 19, 2015 | By:

Risk Risky

It’s time to put up or shut up. It’s time to gamble it all. It’s time to make a significant move and get that piece of the pie that should be yours. You’ve finally concluded that partnering with a creative agency is THE thing that will help move the needle. You’ve talked to everyone involved and they are dry heaving to usher in a new dawn for your company, product, or service. You’re completely invested in making an ad that will put you on the map; all over the map. It’s do or die. It’s now or never. Let’s makes some waves…

Let’s make our version of something that’s already been done! WHAT!?

This reticence to doing something “risky” or “new” is common but what needs to be pointed out is that doing something tried and true is no less “risky”. Marketing is scary especially when you, your team, and your creative partners are all looking to do something big. “Big” rarely happens on the safe side of the playground. Often times that part of the playground wouldn’t exist if it weren’t for someone doing something “big” in the past. If you don’t take a risk and you do what’s been done you’re only due a fraction of the return. It’s a lot like physics when you put a weight on a pendulum. Each subsequent swing is less and less potent.

That is not to say that doing your own version won’t turn some heads, but even casual commenters will likely spotlight your inspiration or lack thereof. In doing that, we cede ground to the originator and neutralize the gains we were hoping to win. Dodging the risk of doing something truly new also lands you in the middle of other comfort seeking marketers. Shying away from rocking the boat keeps you in the same waters that are less than brimming with new dollars.

Great ideas are exactly that, GREAT! Everyone loves to try and ride the great-waves without taking the risk of doing something actually great. It is worth noting that “Great” and “Risk” are often in the formula for success.

Ever heard of Dollar Shave Club (DSC)? Sure you have because at one time they had a great idea and took a risk being authentic and brash. I’ve provided links to the original and to several wanna-be DSC hopefuls. Be aware that each time you watch one you’re subconsciously lining it up against the original. Viewers immediately become more focused on the first and less on what’s in front of them. Each of these “inspired” recreations is devoid of a truly original thought and limits its ability to truly tap into GREAT returns. At best you can rake in so-so return because when you’re having the same conversation that’s already been had it’s much more likely to be ignored…or compared. Look at the number of views and you’ll see the diminishing returns. Even in Dollar Shave Club’s official second video they tried to do the same thing and suffered a loss of nearly 15 million less impressions.

Original Dollar Shave Club – 20 million views


Dollar Beard Club – 730,000 views


Arrangement Finder – 300,000 views


Mass Media – 930 views


Class Presidents – 680 views


Arcturus Bio Cloud – 451views


Printer – 237 views

I urge you to break new ground and blow up comfort zones. It’s much better than trying to recreate something you like and falling short of AWESOME. It sounds crazy but some of the most influential marketing campaigns to ever happen are when everyone resolved to risk risky.

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