“Where do you get your ideas?” So asks the lazy interviewer, the elderly relative who didn’t enjoy your show and these days, the clean, controlled heads of Britain’s much loved advertising firms. Wherever free thinking creativity blurts its milk, corporate tongues gather to lap. Ideas are king and the mind of a jobbing comic is an obvious target for extracting them.
Of course, communicating with comedians can be a tiresome and soul-crushing business, which is why many advertising executives take the sensible approach of assuming other people’s work without asking, paying for or crediting them. There has been renewed dialogue about the practice of late and I wanted to add my voice to the discussion and say well done! Well done for valiantly trawling YouTube and selflessly sponging up these trapped ideas, to wash them over a delighted, larger audience. For boldly plucking these words from the mouths of their creators and stuffing them into those of more deserving models. For releasing these ideas which, let’s face it, we probably all had anyway right?
Part of the reason I got into comedy was in the arrogant hope that some of my ideas would be smuggled onto TV in an advert. For years, each day I would sit cross-legged and expectant in front of the dreambox, hoping against hope one of my jokes would bound, unattributed across the screen, all to no avail. But you can’t spend your whole life waiting for such fortune to blindly fall upon you. If opportunity is a room full of flies, it was time to grease up my flailing arms and try to trap some. So it was that late last year, after a difficult harvest festival, I decided to help advertisers embrace an area of creativity they had yet to fully appreciate.
Much like a stray animal or a human erection, an idea can quickly squirm out of reach if it knows you are actively pursuing it. In the cold light of day it can be hard to truly realise the potential of your creative mind. As such, a common strategy amongst the joke herders is to keep a notebook next to your bed to help capture the flushes of genius that leap forth in those precious first few moments of half sleep. In the sober light of day these notes rarely live up to scrutiny, comprising largely of pictures of a childhood home, distorted visions of your teeth and the name of a previous lover, underlined twice. But just occasionally you will hit upon something remarkably simple yet utterly impossible to have conceived whilst fully awake. It is these beautiful moments of lost poetry, a last refuge for creative splendour, that we as a nation must learn to smoke out, harvest and monetise if we are ever to truly be called Great.
Whilst companies have been slow to react to the world of half sleep, with my expert help one firm in miscellaneous West London UK has cautiously started to replace desks with rows of soft, springy beds; skinny suited media types chugging some chamomile and hunkering down for a “sub-conscious campaign strategy power plan.” We have just begun experimenting with different types of beds; hammocks, camp beds, the classic bunk, as well as rotating who gets the coveted top bunk spot and charting how this affects the half-sleepers real term market place productivity. Recently we tried placing dogs and similar warm-blooded pets on the slumbering feet off these brave advertising pioneers with dramatic results. Labradors, it would seem, will help you crack the 25-40 female audience whilst a smattering of hamsters gets the kids onside. It is becoming increasingly commonplace for the CEO to read a bedtime story or offer up a warm malt drink, often from a specially designed, branded teat.
So how does it work? The exact process varies from company to company but there are some key elements which rarely change. For a start, a background of likable, up beat but saccharine acoustic guitar music is piped in whilst the all important “Brand Whisperer” ensures key product messages are regularly teased into the ears of the dozing writers. On-brand smells are blown around and anyone found to be having a sex dream is swiftly woken up unless it can be proven early doors that it still ties in conclusively with the product. This is especially true for shampoo and gravy products.
The most important factor though, that I have been quick to highlight to these headstrong heroes, is that for maximum creative productivity it is crucial that the “dream harvester” never falls fully asleep. This has proved the biggest stumbling block to the whole process and one that I have worked alongside a rag tag group of specialist sleep doctors and one snooze nurse to combat. The most effective way we have found thus far is to set two opposing sleepers against each other in the same bed, with just enough duvet to cover only one of them. The gentle, grunting, back and forth of the fight for the warm clutches of that tog keeps both in a perpetual state of prolific half sleep. Ka-ching! That’s the sound of big money being made. Get used to it.
So what cost this powerful, new discovery? Genius of course, never comes cheap. The mortality rate amongst the sleepers has proved worryingly high at close to 28%. It is easy to spot an advert that was devised by a “neverwaker” as we loudly call them. Every such advert is, as a mark of respect, voiced by Rob Brydon. This way we all know to pay our all too common tributes. But, let us be certain, if a few little deaths now and then from the stolen ideas of hard working others can help earn these brave ad execs a lot of money then we know it was worth it. Britain can finally relax, kick off our multitude of shoes and shimmy into bed satisfied. And, as we shut our eyes for a proud night’s sleep, just remember to keep a notepad nearby. Or better still, eight trained men with a specific brand vision. Good night, Britain. You all did great. See most of you in the morning.
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