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What inspires us, what sticks in our heads, what keeps us moving forward. We reflect on who we are, what we do, and why we do it.

The Original Thought

BY Jonathan Strauss

Voilà, presto, wow, bingo, eureka!? These words exist to convey exclamation of what is to each one of us, an original thought. It may appear to many people, especially those with experience, that people younger than themselves are incapable of having an idea that is truly original. Moreover, I will submit that ideas borrow from knowledge, experience, evidence, and belief; making the process of an original thought difficult. However, I would argue that feelings like hiybbprqag, a word to describe the feeling that everything original has already been done, is defeatist and an oxymoron at the same time.

The ideas you think of, analyze, and apply to whatever it is you are doing are original in this time, this place, and you. Ultimately, the thoughts you may have are vemödalen, meaning the frustration of saying or doing something that has been done countless times before. However, your expression of that idea, for example, a photograph is unique in the sense that you created it.

Today’s advertising requires a broad message to maximize exposure of an idea or a product. I want you to imagine trying to appeal to as many people as possible. It is a difficult feat to accomplish; even these days when people are more interconnected than ever. Subsequently, we reach back to the playbooks of years past and dust off a consistently successful strategy. However, executing that strategy, despite it having been done before is unique for you, in that time, place, and for whatever reason.

If Don Draper, from the T.V. show Mad Men is to be believed; “Advertising is based on one thing: happiness”, then we in the advertising industry need only look to what makes ourselves, friends, family and acquaintances happy to develop campaigns for ideas that resonate with individuals instead of just adding to the noise. Subsequently, you should consider an exercise the next time you are sitting in a public place, people watching. Sonder, meaning the realization that each random passerby is living a life as vivid and complex as your own-populated with their own ambitions, friends, routines, worries, inherited craziness and ideas. In that spirit, perhaps the famous 1971 Hilltop Coca Cola campaign was inspired by a melding of these two feelings; happiness and sonder.

If it is not clear by now, I believe that anyone and everyone is capable of an original idea; despite the complexity and scarcity of a moment that truly demands you shouting eureka while throwing papers off a balcony. If it seems impossible and you are stricken by feelings of hiybbprqag, I would draw your attention to the fact that you probably have never heard of nor thought about the words: hiybbprqag, vemödalen, and sonder, along with the feelings they describe unless you have read the “Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows”. And now, you can take those words and form ideas that you can share with whomever you know which may in its course, create an original thought.