A rock is very strong.
It doesn’t move.
It sits there being strong and immovable and right.
That’s how rock logic works.
Water isn’t strong, it’s weak.
But what seems like a disadvantage is actually an advantage.
Water doesn’t fight rocks, it goes around them.
It’s always moving and exploring.
Trying everything, never getting stuck.
That’s how water logic works.
Water logic is smarter than rock logic.
If a problem crops up, don’t fight it head on like a rock.
Go around it like water.
Don’t let it stop you, keep moving.
Going into areas where you’ll discover things you don’t know yet.
Try everything, even if you don’t know where it’s going to lead.
That’s what water does.
It keeps flowing.
What can you do beside advertising?
Music, writing, sport, film, whatever.
Explore it and see what ways you can use it.
Adam Morgan was a planner at TBWA.
One day he made a list of all the famous people he’d love to talk to.
It was a long impressive list of people from all sorts of different fields.
Then he noticed they all had one thing in common.
They’d all challenged the status quo in their various fields.
Adam decided he could make this the thesis for a book.
And it would give him the excuse to interview all his heroes.
So he spent 6 months interviewing people and, at the end of it, he had a book.
It’s called EATING THE BIG FISH.
It’s the book that launched the concept of ‘Challenger Brands’.
Just about every client, everywhere has read it.
Adam doesn’t work as a planner at TBWA anymore.
He now has offices all over the world, working for clients who want him to run Challenger-Brand workshops for their companies.
Adam is an example of water logic.
Simon Veksner is a copywriter at BBH.
He’s done a lot of really nice ads and won quite a few awards.
He also likes an argument, he likes to create controversy.
And he tapped into the fact that there were lots of people in advertising who also like to argue and sound off, and there was nowhere for them to do it.
So he created one of the most visited advertising blogs anywhere.
Most blogs are lucky to get 3 or 4 comments a week.
His blog routinely gets a minimum 30 or 40 a day, usually more.
People all over the world click onto it: SCAMP.
His blog is now picked up by Campaign and the trade press.
Which increases the number of people reading his blog.
Which means the trade press has to check it regularly, and so on.
He’s created a virtuous circle.
All by looking to see where his energy is, and following it.
Scamp is another example of water logic.
Peter Souter was ECD at Abbott Mead.
That should be enough for anyone, right?
But Peter has always loved writing witty dialogue.
So he wrote a radio play, just because it interested him.
It was so well received he wrote a whole series of radio plays.
Which lead to him being offered a 10 part television series.
Which will probably lead to Hollywood.
It wasn’t for Al Parker when he was a copywriter at CDP.
He started making rough test commercials in their basement, on an old video camera.
Just out of curiousity initially.
Then he found out he enjoyed it.
So he moved into directing commercials.
He was so successful he wrote and directed a film: Bugsy Malone.
Then Hollywood: Midnight Express, The Commitments, Pink Floyd: The Wall, Evita, and more.
Now he’s Sir Alan Parker, knighted for his services to the British film industry.
Paul Arden was ECD of Saatchis.
He wanted to write a book, but he was an art director, not a writer.
So he put together a book for people who preferred pictures to words.
It became one of the biggest-selling books in the world.
But you’re probably saying, “That’s all very well for them. But I’m not as talented or driven as those famous, powerful people”
Well, when I was at BMP, there was an account man who loved photography.
He dreamed of a career as a photographer.
No one took him seriously.
He began going on safari holidays, and taking his camera, and sending the shots to wildlife magazines.
Years later, when I met him, he was a staff photographer for National Geographic.
They would send him all over the world on assignments.
And he now has his own massively successful online photo library of all the shots he’s ever taken anywhere.
Rock logic is: stay where you’re at and don’t move.
Water logic is: try everything, see where it goes.
Just because you can’t see the immediate short-term benefit of something, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try it.
As we used to say in the playground, “Use it or lose it.”