In advertising we tend to over think things.

In our rush to prove how clever we are, we overlook the obvious.

Because our university and art school training has taught us that the difficult, the hidden solution must have more value.

But sometimes you can be too clever.

Sometimes you can think yourself out of a good solution, and into a bad one.

Sometimes you should know when to leave things alone.

For instance, in the days before mobile phones, a famous ad-agency CEO, Managing Director, and Planning Director were going to a client presentation in a limo.

With them was a young Account Exec and Account Manager.

They were travelling up the motorway when the CEO turned to the MD.

He said, “Why are five of us going to this meeting? That seems rather excessive?”

The MD said, “Yes, it does.”

The CEO thought about it, and said, “I can understand the three most important people going, but surely five is overkill.”

The MD said, “Yes, I think you’re right.”

The CEO thought about it some more, and said, “I think it sends the wrong signals to the client.”

Finally they came to a decision.

The CEO said, “Look, let’s just pull over here and let these two young chaps out. They can make their own way back to the agency.”

So they did.

They pulled off onto a slip road, let the two young account men out, and carried on up the motorway.

About 15 minutes later the driver said, “Where exactly are we going gents?”

The CEO said to the MD, “Tell the driver where we’re going.”

The MD said, “I’m not exactly sure.”

 Then the CEO said to the Planning Director, “Where are we going?”

The Planning Director said, “I don’t know.”


The people who did know were back up the motorway, thumbing their way home.