In World War Two, in North Africa, the Luftwaffe outnumbered the RAF.
But the Luftwaffe was dispersed into separate units.
So the RAF gathered all their planes together and attacked the separate Luftwaffe units.
One at a time.
So that, in each case, the RAF outnumbered the Luftwaffe.
Had the Luftwaffe met these attacks en-masse, they’d have outnumbered the RAF.
But being disciplined Germans, they never deviated from their separate units.
And they were beaten.
An inferior opposition can win by concentrating its forces.
It’s the same with creativity.
My brother-in-law is from Indiana.
He’s about 15 years older than me.
He’s retired now, but he was an art director in New York.
Recently he said to me, “I never really had the success in advertising you had David.”
I asked him why he thought that was.
He said, “I guess I had too many things I was good at. I had too many options.”
I think that’s really perceptive.
It made me think.
Jerry was a star football player in high school.
And later on, in the Navy.
He might have turned professional.
He was a superb artist.
He could have been a top illustrator.
Later he was a superb sailor.
He knew everything about boats.
He bought and restored an antique wooden ketch.
He could have sailed it round the world.
He was an excellent carpenter.
He rebuilt the boat complete with figurehead.
Down to the smallest detail.
He was a mathematician.
He was a historian.
He was an expert on classical music and opera.
He was incredibly thorough and painstaking about everything.
As all good art directors are.
But Jerry didn’t approach advertising with quite the intensity I did.
As he said, he had too many options.
He was too good at too many things.
I never had that problem.
I wasn’t any good at anything.
I failed at everything, until I discovered advertising.
So I never had to take that decision.
I never had any distractions.
Advertising was the only thing I was ever any good at.
So advertising got 100% of my attention.
And an inferior opponent can often win by concentrating their forces against a superior force.
Just the way you can use the sun to start a fire.
By concentrating its rays through a magnifying glass.
It’s worth remembering that when you’re putting a media plan together.
A million here and a million there may give you a threshold entry into several places.
But actually it just makes you a smaller player in a space someone else dominates.
Whereas putting it all together, several million in one place, may make you bigger.
It may give you dominance.
Concentrating effort works.
Dissipating effort doesn’t.