I Blame J. Walter

Why advertising ideas aren't worth anything

Gordon Torr
Nowlan Torr

'Skilled work, when published, costs no more than work without skill. So the best work, such as I give, is the cheapest because it brings better results.'

Mr James W. Thompson, c, 1895

Anyone who has worked in the 'great tradition' of advertising, either for one of the famous name agencies, or for one of the blue-chip clients that take advertising seriously, will know the quest for the great idea lies at the heart of the agency client discourse. All those meetings, all those documents, all those emails and phone calls and faxes and jpegs and mpegs; and all that anguish and all that stress, and all those lunches and intercontinental flights and summits and conferences and post-conference drinks, and everything else that we tuck away in the neat categories of account planning and client service and creative all of it, every syllable of it, will ultimately be measured in value by the quality of the idea that emerges at the end.