Why Creativity is Exactly (and I Mean EXACTLY) Like Washing a Pig.

In my book Hey Whipple, Squeeze This, I propose that creativity is exactly like washing a pig. Because it’s messy. It has no rules. No clear beginning, middle, or end. It’s kind of a pain in the ass, and when you’re done you’re not sure if the pig is really clean or even why you were washing a pig in the first place.

A fellow professor, Tom Laughlon from the Advertising Department at FSU, agreed that washing a pig might make for a good lab experience in chaos and creativity. I extend my thanks to him and his students for this literalization of my metaphor.

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CREATIVE BRIEF: Wash a pig.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

SARAH, JUNIOR ACCOUNT PERSON: Well, this seems obvious … I’ll just say, “Hey Porky, hit the suds.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

ASHLEY, ACCOUNT PERSON: Mmmmm, he’s not going in. Are you sure a pool is the right approach?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

CHAD, ART DIRECTOR: Yeah, my friend at Goodby did something like this. He said you just gotta … muscle it in.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

ASHLEY: (sarcastically) Oh, perfect. See? I told you the pool idea sucked.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

CHAD: No, we just gotta figure out how to keep the pig in the pool long enough to… COPYWRITER IN GREEN SHORTS SAYS: Dudes, seriously, what about my idea of feeding him Doritos? NICOLE (ACCOUNT PLANNER): Hey, I know! What if we used the hose …

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

ASHLEY: Nicole, the hose idea is brill! COPYWRITER: Yeah, but if he gets out of the pool, my Doritos idea might….. JOHN (THE CREATIVE DIRECTOR, ARRIVING LATE, COMES IN FROM THE RIGHT): Hey, I see you guys love my hose idea.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

TEAM: Yay, the pig is clean and…. No wait. CREATIVE DIRECTOR: I TOLD you Chad’s idea wouldn’t work.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

THE REST OF THE PITCH TEAM ARRIVES. (MEDIA TEAM CONFERENCES IN FROM UPPER PORCH, ON MUTE.) AGENCY PRESIDENT: Client’s in the elevators. Where the hell’s my clean pig?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

CREATIVE DIRECTOR, TO COPYWRITER: Dude. You were right about the Doritos. They distract him. COPYWRITER: Let me just massage some of this copy here and….

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

JUNIOR ACCOUNT PERSON: I just love this -- a clean pig. It’s so counter-intuitive.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

CUT TO THE PRESENTATION ROOM. AGENCY PRESIDENT: And there you have it, gentlemen. A clean pig. CLIENT: Did I say “pig”? Seriously? I meant to say warthog. Can you guys wash a warthog?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

CREATIVE TEAM REACTS WITH THEIR USUAL PROFESSIONALISM.

 

 

 

1 Comment

  1. Good one Luke

    Reply

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Book Review: Hey Whipple, Squeeze This - A Guide to Ad Copywriting via @AlterImaging - [...] you’re not sure if the pig is clean or even why you were washing a pig in the first…
  2. “Washing the Pig” and Other Tidbits for Twitter Copywriting Success - […] Creativity is chaotic and messy and sometimes it doesn’t make a lot of sense, so if you can boil…

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Luke Sullivan

Author, speaker, and ad veteran available to recharge, reinvigorate, and refocus marketing, advertising, and branding firms.

I give a hugely energetic series of presentations on innovation, creativity, branding, and marketing. I spent 32 years in the trenches of advertising (at agencies like Martin, GSD&M, and Fallon) and I’ve put everything I learned into my book, Hey Whipple, Squeeze This. But for me nothing beats taking the message out and speaking to living breathing audiences at clients, agencies, and conferences. You can book me on the button below.

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