Innovation is not a light bulb - new series of Cliché Killers kicks off

The Drum has launched a 12-part video series, Cliché Killers, produced in partnership with Stein IAS, focusing on advertising clichés.

Cliché Killers, which will run over Summer 2016, features a cast of ad industry leaders discussing the virtues, or embarrassment, of advertising clichés used in B2B advertising.

The series discusses the genesis of advertising clichés, from the jigsaw puzzle with a missing piece representing the agency that can fix your problem to a handshake signifying profitable deals, and whether they have any right to be used in today’s creative industries.

The clichés discussed, and ridiculed, in the series range from the stopwatch to the piggy bank and the tape measure.

The series kicks off with The Light bulb. As the episode points out, this cliché, used to represent an idea or spark of inspiration, was born when Thomas Edison invented the light bulb, and was first used in cartoons like Felix the Cat.

The public would have been very used to seeing mages of Edison holding up the light bulb, making it easily represent ‘genius’.

As Stein IAS chief executive Tom Stein points out, though, the idea has become so clichéd that today it can simply smack of laziness.

“So what is a business trying to say here? That you can turn innovation on and off like a light bulb,” he said. “It’s an insult to anyone who is involved in the process of developing ideas, one of whom was Edison who invented the light bulb and spent a fortune trying to get it to work. He fought naysayers every step of the way, but he got it to work and that took a lot of work. Innovation does!”

The Cliché Killers series was based on a book by Stein’s Reuben Webb.

A new episode will be launched every two weeks on The Drum, which will all be hosted in a dedicated hub.

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