Alan Grove: Lacoste and Aspiration’s 1984 spin – it’s not how old your idea is but what you do with it

If you can’t be original, at least be brilliant.

“If there be nothing new, but that which is Hath been before, how are our brains beguil’d,”

Shakespeare was on to something when he wrote the opening lines of Sonnet 59. How do we keep ‘brains beguil’d” when it sometimes feels like there are no original ideas left?

The interesting debate is whether original execution of an existing idea can make that idea really feel original again. For example, there’s no doubt Cadbury’s Gorilla was a brilliantly original piece of work but the idea that eating chocolate = joy isn’t a new one. You’re always going to need a big idea but, if you know what your brand believes in – how it should think, talk and behave – it is possible to take an idea that has seen the light of day before and evolve that idea into something uniquely and brilliantly your own.

Take this film for Lacoste by BETC Paris. The idea of falling in love is not new. The phrase ‘falling in love’ has probably been around for as long as language has. Yet in this retelling it feels original, stylish and fresh which, by no small coincidence, are probably three words that have figured in the brand’s ethos since dapper tennis musketeer Rene Lacoste first got somebody to sew a crocodile onto his shirt. It tells us a breathtaking story we have almost all experienced first hand in an original way and we all warm to the brand because of it.

For a glimpse of what happens when your brand doesn’t have the belief and sense of self so obvious in that Lacoste film, watch this from new financial mob Aspiration (agency not listed). They’re touting revolution as their big idea. It’s not a new one, and here it most definitely isn’t told in an original way (to the extent that one wonders whether they’re aiming for a market too young to have watched the Superbowl in 1984).

By way of reference, here’s the original:

Lacoste are saying who they are with confidence and style while Aspiration give us a second-rate knock off version of who they wish they were like. They are as uncertain and desperate to impress as Lacoste are self-assured. The difference is a simple yet powerful one; the 81-year-old fashion label knows what its brand belief is and lives it, the not-yet- launched financial company doesn’t.

unnamedAlan Grove is creative director of independent creative agency Will London.

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