Yesterday, a friend sent me a link to this Brandflakes for Breakfast post about a PSA that reminds us all to treat handicapped people fairly in society. Having helped produce a number of PSAs in my career, I was very impressed with the simple, authentic, moving nature of the spot (not to mention the fantastic music selection).

Upon sharing the video with a few coworkers, one person saw the post comments and noted that the spot was actually modeled 100% off off this video around H.I.V. prevention:

I won’t lie, watching the second video left me a bit disappointed that the first video was not in fact an original idea. But, I quickly caught myself. The reality is that I source creative ideas off the work of others on a daily basis. Many times over. We all do. Granted, it’s rare that a content piece so closely replicates an original as in the example above, but it does happen.

In a given week, I may be a part of two or three different client or project brainstorms. As a digital strategist, my creative toolbox is of course based on my own catalog of work but is mostly compiled of an assortment of ideas and tidbits I’ve stored away or bookmarked over the years from other people’s projects or campaigns, unique videos, compelling designs, smart blog posts and other sources.

When it comes down to it, some of my best ideas are formulated when I find a unique way to piece together a big idea based on two or three independent projects or ideas I’ve studied in the past. Taking a fundamental idea and innovating further is simply part of the creative process.

Should we knock the first ad’s creators for building off an unoriginal idea?

In my book, absolutely not. Call it Evolved Creativity.

They took a solid idea and like all good creatives, they made it better (not going to lie, the ending to the H.I.V. video actually caused me to jump on first view – frightening), much better. Both videos work in their own right but the first video’s ad team knew what it took to nail it on the pathos front.

Feel free to agree or disagree below. Just don’t send me a video of your nonprofit using a bear costume…in the street…hugging people…or do…but it better be good.

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About Scott Meis

SVP, Digital Content Strategy @ Weber Shandwick Seattle. Outdoors. Adventure. Travel. I dig the Foto.

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Nonprofits, Social Media, Video

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