It's very common for people to pretend to have read books, when in fact they haven't.
Apparently this is particularly true of the classics, such as Moby-Dick, Catch-22, and 1984.
Part of this is shame - people just don't want to admit they haven't read them. But I reckon part of it is that they just don't feel they need to. Even people who haven't read Moby-Dick know that it's about Captain Ahab's obsession with catching a white whale - a story of compulsion on the high seas. People probably feel they've 'got the idea' so they don't need to invest the time in actually reading it.
And looking at the Leo Burnett Cannes predictions, which came out this week, made me wonder... are a lot of us doing the same with ads now?
You see, I found myself having quite strong opinions about which ideas deserved to win... even ones I suddenly realised that I hadn't actually watched.
The ad industry is well-served with trade magazines and websites. So what happens nowadays is that we read about a new TV ad, or activation, or social media idea, in a neat package: headline, a few lines of description about the project, and an accompanying screenshot. My question is - once you've digested these, do you then actually click through and watch the film? Or do you feel you don't need to, because you've 'got the idea'?
Take this quick test.
Here are five examples of an ad, activation, or social media idea - all of them (in my opinion) great ideas, and all hotly tipped to win at Cannes. I guarantee that you 'know the idea' for all of them. And probably have strong opinions about them.
But please tell me - just for research - how many of the 5 have you actually watched?
And if you haven't, does it matter?
1 Cancer Council Australia "I Touch Myself - Breast Cancer Anthem" From JWT / Sydney
2 Virgin Mobile "Game of Phones" From Havas Worldwide & One Green Bean
3 Australia Post "Video Stamp" From Clemenger BBDO
4 7-Eleven - Slurpee "The Xpandinator" From Leo Burnett / Melbourne
5 RAC Insurance "Attention Powered Car" From JWT / Sydney