Among other success stories, Ogilvy turned a small and otherwise ordinary clothing brand into a cultural phenomenon with one spontaneous and last-minute decision. When brainstorming the campaign, Ogilvy planned the photoshoots to center around a distinguished and respectable-looking business man. This a very popular technique (even still today) when appealing to an upperclass or wealthier crowd.
As luck would have it, on his way to the shoot Ogilvy walked past a five and ten cent store and in a spur-of-the-moment decision purchased a handful of black eyepatches. In the middle of the shoot, he had the model strike a few experimental shots with the eyepatches on. Right away they all knew they had found something special.
With that one simple change the ordinary businessman transformed into a man of mysterious and heroism. The response was unprecedented.
The campaign made headlines, inspired ripoffs, comic jokes and even landed Ogilvy and the Hathaway owner on various talk shows. Since then, dozens of brands have shaped their campaigns from the mold set by “The Man in the Hathaway Shirt,” the least of which being the Dos Equis commercials.
The important takeaway is this: It isn’t an eyepatch or some adventuresome clout that will be they key to the success of your campaign.
Your success will come from being unique, from being memorable, and from not being afraid to listen to your spontaneous impulses…no matter how outrageous they may seem.
If you humor your creativity you might just become an icon too.