I grew up in a Southern family that loved its sayings. “I know what the gravy train with biscuit wheels is, because I’m on it,” “Tend to your own knitting,” and “All hat, no cattle,” were mainstays at my house, usually punctuated by an “Umm hmm,” or a “Bless her heart.” My least favorite/most favorite? There’s more than one way to skin a cat. If you can get past the horror of it (Eww. Skin a cat? Why? Who is out there skinning cats?), it’s a good point: There is always another way of doing something.

As creatives, it is really easy to give clients exactly what they want. But as the saying goes, “If I asked people what they wanted they would have said faster horses.” (Thanks Henry Ford.) That, right there, is the issue. People don’t always know what they want. They know their goals and they know what kind of result they’re looking for—but if you ask them what they want in a campaign or brand, they’re probably going to start driving you toward something that already exists. A trope. An industry standard. A plug-and-play concept. That’s not only really boring (and they’re not boring, so why have a campaign or brand that is?), it’s a sure-fire way to get lost in the shuffle.

Creating something new and different takes work and patience. It’s a risk. All creative work is a gamble—what if it’s too smart? Too dumb? Too far? Not far enough? But the reward is so high. Take, for example, Planet Earth II. If you haven’t watched it yet, plan a personal day and make it happen. It’s GREAT.

Their first trailer is a straight ahead look at what viewers can expect. It’s beautiful, stunningly shot and absolutely breathtaking. But, aside from the technological acrobatics, any nature show could have made this.

Their second? A booty-shakin’ stroke of genius.

Apparently, there’s more than one way to show a bear scratching its back on a tree. It’s quite a feat these days to create a trailer so compelling that people save it to look at again and again. It’s funny, it’s fun and it adds a new dimension to the Planet Earth universe. They went beyond just scratching the surface (PUN ALERT) and that’s the kind of creative that makes people sit up and take notice.

Bonus footage: A flock of flamingoes strutting their stuff.


— Sarah Gabbart  @sarahsewcrafty