Monsters and déjà-vus

Adriana Leboss
2 min readDec 19, 2023

Back in the day before I freed myself from the tyranny of agency life, I used to work for a big advertising company that assumed they owned the market and knew consumer behavior like the back of their hand.

Every time we, the creative team, presented an idea, the CEO would call Josephine the receptionist (no offense to Josephines or receptionists) to test and decide the effectiveness of that idea.

Need I say more?
Yes, actually I do.

Ideas rarely won Josephine's approval, and the cheesiest, salesiest concept always ended up winning.

Last week while pitching a concept to a client, the same happened. They sent it to every Tom, Dick and Harry who didn’t really dig it, so to speak. They even came out with other alternatives to my punchline that they proudly read to me in a follow-up meeting.

Déjà -vu. Déjà -vécu.
The monster (monsters, actually) in me resurfaced. I was abruptly pulled from my happy freelancer zone and thrown in a painful, excruciating trip down memory lane to that morbid meeting room where I had the epiphany, some 12 years ago, that I should be working on my own. That my monsters can never be defeated. That I had to embrace them and tame them so they’d keep me company when my freelance days would come.

And this is exactly why all brands are now, more than ever before, saying the same things. Instead of standing out in an era ruled by sameness, they refuse to unsame themselves and stand out. They seek unanimous validation.
Let’s stay on the safe side and say what everyone else is saying.
And if, for a minute, they hesitate while rethinking options, they will come full circle back to ‘saying the same’- especially after asking Josephine!