Happy Warrior

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It makes you wonder if there really was something you did that was any different than any other creative in the industry. At T.A.G., we may pride ourselves on working and playing in a unique way, but how unique is it really?

I started to think I should make something up about how we brought in the Reverend Al Green as the T.A.G. Motivational Coach and how he advised us on the powers of persuasion through "soul," and that on the day of the big presentation we just pressed play on "Simply Beautiful" and followed the script he gave us. At least that would be good reading.

But there wasn't one big meeting, and as much as we'd love some advice from Al Green, he won't take our calls. Then Mike Harris (Strategy Director/Partner T.A.G.) reminded me of what we did and how we did it. Turns out, it's a one-word answer.

Conviction.

Unwavering conviction.

From the moment the idea hits you in the face like a bag of fertilizer, you have to completely invest yourself in it. You have to want to tell anyone and everyone who will listen (however, not cool when Geoff (Edwards, CD/Partner) or John (Patroulis, CD) are badgering the cleaning crew about how Master Chief is a modern day hero and video games are the modern day device to pass stories along). When it came to "Believe," our conviction never wavered.

Every time someone tried to poke holes in the idea, another opportunity presented itself for us to enlighten them about what it could be and what they could do to contribute to its success. It's a little bit religion meets sports team, and by sports team I'm obviously talking Florida Gator football.

Is it bananas to talk about creative persuasiveness like this? Maybe. But if you don't have the conviction, who will?

If you don't care enough to believe in the possibility and wonder, how is client number 35 on the other side of a conference call in Spain going to? How about trying to convince partner agencies that they need to help execute your idea?

The only way that works is when people with their own interests recognize the depth of your conviction and can see that it's not about our idea, rather, the idea. It also helps to have a pretty cool idea. Can anyone think of an interactive agency that doesn't want to create a 360 degree fly-through of a hand-made 1200 square foot diorama of a futuristic battle between aliens and humanity—so deeply entrenched in the idea that the user can actually stop on the miniature figurines to hear the veterans tell their stories personally?

Conviction is one of the main reasons we used "Believe" as the campaign's premise. Not because it's the ultimate tagline or it makes the greatest in-store display in Best Buy—but because it was based on a feeling, which, in turn, gave people something they could internalize and evangelize themselves.

I can recall a moment I had in this one presentation...There I was, standing in front of Xbox and Bungie, the two parties that live and breathe the game, insisting they had to believe. Convincing them that it was just not enough to like the scripts or the idea, but that it needed to be about statues and books and stamps and songs, as well. Convincing them that they needed to believe this was real, and their organizations needed to believe—only then, will millions of people have no choice but to believe as well.

Suddenly I thought to myself, "What was I saying?! And who am I saying this to?!" That's when I looked over at Mike and John for support, only to find they had that same look in their eyes that I knew I did. Oh well, we were just following the script that Reverend Al Green gave us. Believe and others will too.

Scott Duchon is CD/Partner at T.A.G. and co-creator of the Creativity Award winner (and Grand Prize finalist) "Believe" for Halo 3.
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