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One thing that really annoys me about planners is that we’re incredibly good at spouting a whole bunch of theories but rarely put our money where our mouth is at.
OK, what annoys me more is when we spout theories that have already been used and known for decades, but because we use ‘cool sounding names’, we act like we invented it.
Behavioural economics anyone?
Anyway, I get super-frustrated by people who spout theory … do nothing about it … and then, when something seems to prove their point of view, act like they were Nostradamus or something.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m definitely guilty of it and I’m certainly not denouncing the importance of thinking about things … but if we’re not prepared to find ways to undeniably prove it’s validity, we are undermining ourselves and our discipline.
Of course there are many reasons this happens.
Lots of us are lazy. We rarely are given the time or the money to prove something. We all like running after the next new, new thing rather than take a moment to see if we truly understand and appreciate the old, old thing. And – if I’m being honest – our industry doesn’t really like being too ‘academic’ about stuff because we believe it could limit our creative freedom going forward.
Is that true?
Possibly … but working in China – a land with more rules and obstacles than almost any other major advertising market on earth – I’m of the view these things actually force you to be more creative, rather than less.
Anyway, the reason I’m saying all this is that I read an amazing story about a Professor who was desperate to prove his theory was correct to a bunch of medical practitioners.
Back in 1983, there was a conference in Las Vegas for the American Urological Association.
Professor Giles Brindley, a British physiologist, had been working on a project to prove phenoxybenzamine – an alpha-blocking smooth muscle relaxant – could help men who were suffering from erectile disfunction.
Despite having presented numerous papers at scientific conferences, the urological World was deeply skeptical about his findings with one American specialist suggesting that proof would require something “beyond charts, tables and graphs” … so with that in mind, Professor Giles – who was aged 57 at the time – devised a way to give undeniable proof he was right.
To cut a very long story short [which you can read here] he presented his key note speech by announcing to the audience that prior to getting on stage, he had injected his penis with his treatment, then – without a word of warning – he dropped his trousers to proudly present his massive erection [not my words, the words of an attendee] to the shocked crowd.
To really ram home the point [not the best choice of words there], he then walked around the audience offering them the chance to prod and poke his genitals to see how firm it was.
Given these are a couple of the quotes from DR’s in attendance, I would say he was successful in his quest:
“I had been wondering why Brindley was wearing sweatpants,” says Dr. Arnold Melman, chief of urology at New York’s Albert Einstein College of Medicine, “… suddenly I knew. It was a big penis, and he just walked around the stage, showing it off.”
Dr. Irwin Goldstein – a Boston University urologist – said, “He walked down the aisle and let us touch it. People couldn’t believe it wasn’t an implant.”
Now I am not suggesting we suddenly go to such extreme lengths to prove our point … especially given we work in advertising which means we should never [hopefully] have to show our privates to explain a theory … however it would be nice if we went to some lengths to prove them.
We work in an industry where talk is very, very cheap so if we want to truly get the respect that our egos crave, then proving our theories should be regarded with greater importance than simply having theories … even if it takes years to finally be able to prove we were right.
As I’ve said many a time, anything is easy if you don’t have to do it or prove it.
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