Searching for the Island

It’s a little disturbing to watch Rudolph and see how mean Santa and the reindeer coach are — all that bit about not letting Rudolph join in any reindeer games and what a shame it is that his nose is ruining an otherwise high-potential flying career.

Then there’s the whole “Island of Misfit Toys” — that Santa would simply toss aside obviously thinking, feeling toys because of imperfections flies in the face of the benevolent, chuckling, jelly-man we all know and love. And it’s particularly glaring in today’s inclusive, ADA-aware world.

While I’m certainly glad Santa sees the error of his ways by the end of the show, I do think there’s still an island out there waiting for rescue — only it’s not populated by misfit toys but by misfit ideas.

I know every “creative” who’s ever peddled an idea has come away disappointed when some higher-up hasn’t shared the vision. It still hurts to think of the really clever Christmas (errr “holiday”) card my designer partner and I created last year. Perfect image, perfect message. We loved it, the client’s marketing team loved it, but the man signing the checks, not so much. So off it went to the Island, replaced by a generic greeting. Just like that.

And there was that ad from so long ago. Again, designer and writer in perfect harmony. The boss? Out in left field, his usual hangout. So what the client eventually saw (and approved) was not the cool concept we proposed, but one decidely less cool that the boss liked better (his idea, of course).

You learn to toss aside those disappointments and go on. But just imagine the thousands — millions — of really clever, really inventive ideas voted off the table and onto the Island. I can see them out there — waiting desperately to be discovered. To find their place in an ad, brochure, commercial, Web site. To finally be recognized for the bright spots of inspiration they are. That paradise is lost out there — if only I could find it. I’d make sure every one of those sweet little moments found a good home with a creative soul to love and nurture it.

Santa? Rudolph? Yukon Cornelius? Anyone up for a new search-and-rescue?

An idea whose time has come was waiting there all along. 
                                                    ~ Carrie Latet


  1. CUTEBLOG NAME said,

    Thursday, December 13, 2007 at 9:30 am

    I believe such events define history, both on a personal and larger scale. Just think if no one listened to Al Gores’ internet idea. We would’nt be able to read your wonderful blogs.

  2. WritingbyEar said,

    Thursday, December 13, 2007 at 9:37 am

    No doubt. I didn’t even address the notion of product and service and really “big” ideas that got shot down by someone else’s lack of vision. All I know is, if MY version of the ad had made it through, there would have been A LOT more tennis string sold that year.

  3. CUTEBLOG NAME said,

    Thursday, December 13, 2007 at 9:56 am

    Don’t forget the butterfly effect.

  4. WritingbyEar said,

    Thursday, December 13, 2007 at 10:02 am

    True, the tennis string sales burst no doubt leading to a boom in the worldwide economy overall. So much wasted potential every day. Forget those losers on LOST — better to be searching for those ideas.

  5. Jbusch said,

    Thursday, December 13, 2007 at 2:55 pm

    That sounds like a really great This American Life episode–Island of The Misfit Ideas.

  6. WritingbyEar said,

    Thursday, December 13, 2007 at 3:05 pm

    I’m sure Ira would give it the right treatment — quirky but with a “there’s-something-to-this” twist.

  7. boatdrinkbaby said,

    Monday, January 11, 2010 at 10:24 am

    I think copywriters should come up with a secret code that could be woven into copy as a subliminal “I had nothing to do with this turd” note to others. We’ve all (well, er, I have) added that little 2 cents somewhere along the way to give us anonymous giggle revenge, but perhaps a more universal indication would be cool.

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