Damien Hirst and Paul Arden both said the same thing.
The most important thing they learned from Charlie Saatchi was to think big.
However big you think you’re thinking, it’s too small.
If you’re being remotely safe, or sensible, or responsible, it’s too small.
If you’re at all comfortable, it’s too small.
If you’re not cringing with embarrassment, it’s too small.
If it won’t be greeted with shock and outrage, horror and disbelief.
If you don’t think you’ll get sued.
If the police won’t arrive on your doorstep, no questions asked in parliament.
It’s too small.
Because the truth is no one will even notice it.
Keep your money in your pocket.
The sad reality is you’re the only one who will even know you’ve done it.
You can see every pixel of your idea in startling clarity.
Because you’re looking at it under a microscope.
Everyone else is looking at it through the wrong end of a telescope.
Your entire idea is the size of a single pixel in their world.
You see no one cares about your ad.
They don’t even care about the entire world of advertising, or media in general.
So what possible chance have you got of getting on their radar?
None, unless you’re completely outrageous.
Charlie Saatchi is fortunate that way.
He doesn’t live in the world of small print, like the rest of us.
He isn’t going to solve anyone else’s problems.
He’s already ignored them.
Years ago he bought a sculpture from Damien Hirst for £100,000.
That was a lot of money for a work by a living artist.
Hirst said, “Are you going to tell the press how much you paid for it?”
Saatchi said, “No, I’m going to say I paid a million.”
Hirst said, “They’ll go mad.”
Charlie said, “Hopefully.”
(That same sculpture is now worth about £50 million. Charlie created that.)
So what can the rest of us learn from him?
Well, supposing you think what you’re about to do is risky.
Multiply the risk factor by 10.
Scare yourself stupid at the enormity of what you’re about to do.
And, if you’re lucky, they might just about notice.