Mistakes-Wrong2

Mistakes aren’t wrong. Wrong isn’t a mistake.

Johnny Molson

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Don’t make those commercials too slick. People will slide right off.

John Patton
John E. Patton

The ink wasn’t quite dry on my high school diploma as I sat in a studio at WKSG-FM in Detroit.  John Patton, a disorientingly quiet man, pushed the door open and tossed that grenade-quote at me and continued down the hallway.


“Don’t make those commercials too slick.  People will slide right off,” he said.


“What the hell is that supposed to…” FLASH. BOOM. 


“Ohhhhhh,” I said.


Mistake #7 in the 12 Most Common Mistakes in Advertising is “Obedience to Unwritten Rules: For some insane reason, advertisers want their ads to look and sound like ads.”


Slick graphics, Madison Avenue production, plastic magazine models, and baritone voice-over actors.  Makers of ads push their chairs back and say “yeahhh…now that’s smooooooth.” 


…while your customer sliiiides right off.


Bob Ross calls them “happy accidents.”  The Japanese call it “wabi-sabi.”  Our tribe calls it “Accidental Magic.” 


So-called ad professionals call these “mistakes.”  But neurologists know that if you want to break through the clutter, you need a splash of novelty. 


Something that shouldn’t be there…but somehow fits. 


Something just quirky enough it makes you take a second look.

Watch this video for examples of mistakes making things better


In a world dripping in Insta-glam models, toothy politicians, and templated websites…your customer wants you to be real. 


Really real.  Warts and all.

Are you funny lookin’?  Get in front of a camera.

Voice like Fozzie Bear?  Make a radio commercial.

Did the painter spill blue paint on your floor?  Share that gorgeous mess on Instagram.


If some uptight drip tells you something shouldn’t be in your ad…you should probably put it there.


Real is you.  Your competitor can’t be you.  Real is your best asset. 

Use real in all its weird, clunky, beauty. 

Don’t…for the love of your business…be slick.  People will slide right off.

Johnny Molson

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