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Suicide for the Big Idea

February 26, 2016 Bradford Group Administrator

Written by intern Amber Krigbaum.

We all have ideas, but have you ever had an idea so great that you’d have done anything to support it? Even threaten suicide?

Probably not, but George Lois did. Lois, renowned art director and author, once threatened to commit suicide – even going as far to stand in the windowsill – in order to sell an advertising campaign to a client. Now if you’re like me, you probably think this was a bit of an overreaction, but there is a lesson to be learned from his tactic:


In his book Damn Good Advice (for people with talent!), Lois compels his readers to take action when they have a big idea. To be successful – in any field, not just advertising or public relations – you need to be able to sell the concepts and strategies that you want implemented.

So how do you sell a big idea, or any idea at all? Here is a simplified version of Lois’s advice.[Photo credit: Home Water Softener Reviews]

1. Commit to Your Idea

You don’t have to threaten suicide, but you need a way to help others see your perspective. If you don’t believe in your idea, then no one listening will believe it either. If that’s the case, your idea probably isn’t great – and it probably isn’t worth threatening to jump out of a window.

2. Sell Your Idea in a Precise Manner

Whether you are selling a product or writing a pitch to a reporter, be able to explain your idea succinctly and accurately. Lois believes that any idea can be sold in three sentences, but I won’t hold you to that expectation. Keep your idea short and sweet because you want to hold the attention of your audience, not lose it in a bunch of details or expository prose.

3. Answer Every Question

When you present an idea, there may be questions that you consider to be more dumb than smart, but answer them anyway and in a respectful manner. People understand ideas and absorb information through their own unique lenses, so answering all their questions will help them visualize the same picture you see.

4. Be Aware of the Devil’s Advocate

There will always be a devil’s advocate in the room and you must be aware and prepared to handle it.

Think ahead about how your idea could be challenged and then compose arguments to support it. Your preparedness not only makes your idea seem well thought out, it can help diffuse any extreme tension that could result from thoughtless and abrupt answers.

5. Do Not Take NO for an Answer

If you really believe that your idea is the big idea and one that will bring your client or team success, then you will not take no as an answer. That doesn’t mean you should force it on anyone. But it may mean taking a step back and figuring out how to re-word it, focus on a different selling point or better highlight the results that it will bring. It may even need some modifications to bring it to the finish line. The key is just to help your audience get excited about it.
By following these five pieces of advice you should be able to sell your next idea to whomever you please without having to stand in a windowsill. It won’t be easy, but remembering these important factors can help your audience see the passion and confidence you have in your idea and the results it can bring.


One comment on “Suicide for the Big Idea
  1. Brian hood says:

    Hi I got a big idea I like to sell I ben working on it for about 2 years now

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