One of the most cringy phrases in advertising is often posed as a question. “Does it have legs? Ugh. It’s just…so…cliche. What I hate most about that phrase is… it’s an incredibly good question.  

A lot of energy gets spent on ideas. More needs to be spent on creative platforms. A great platform is client nirvana. A place where a central idea becomes your calling card. Where your target audience knows you before they see your name. Better yet, they welcome you into their head for the latest release from your infinite creative playlist.

We’re going to call it the Immortal Creative Platform (ICP) (™ pending). The ICP is that one central idea that can be spun off into infinite executions. Into legs! Red Bull Gives You Wings. Got Milk? Dove Campaign for Real Beauty. And the King Kong ICP and leggiest of them all, Just Do It.

Just Do it is no mere ad campaign. Let’s call it a movement. One that started in 1988. A run that proves another hallmark of the ICP: timelessness. Just Do It is immortal in the literal sense too. It’s unkillable. When that whole Colin Kaepernick hullaballoo ignited in 2016, the haters got the pitchforks out with hashtags like #justdontdoit. But Just Do it is a short-form national anthem for the Nike faithful who just talked more, shared more, fought back some and bought more fucking sneakers.  Just Do It even has its own Wikipedia page.  

Like werewolves and silverware or Dracula and tanning beds, there are things that can kill the ICP. I’ll catalogue three of them here:  

  1. Impatience 
  2. Lack of actual legs 
  3. Incompatibility with the product 


  1. Impatience. Let’s bring up that old chestnut about how everyone on the team gets bored with the work before the target audience even sees it. This triggers a need to try something else to satisfy a collective short attention span. Impatience kills ICPs because a good one takes time to generate results – it always takes time! Helpful hint: Have plenty of other concepts built off the ICP waiting in the wings at all times. Have an unquenchable thirst for more legs. You will have better work. You will never be bored.   
  2. Lack of actual legs. It happens. It seems like you can have a million ideas built off the idea of instant mortgage approvals. You can’t. I know. If the creative platform runs dry too soon it’s just an MCP. (Mortal Creative Platform). Don’t cry, truth is, most are.  
  3. Incompatibility with the actual product or the brand. In the ads it says, “Red Bull Gives You Wings”. The product is chock-full of anxiety/energy producing chemical voodoo. That covers the product compatibility bit.  However, Red Bull as a brand is relentless at demonstrating the “gives you wing-ness” of itself. It does so by being in Formula One. It does so by sponsoring crazy shit like mountain bike/ski/snowmobile/sky diving-related near-suicide-attempts and…well all varieties of derring-do. The line, “Built Ford Tough” could have been a monster ICP if Ford had committed to relentlessly fulfilling such a claim in both product and brand. Too bad Toyota didn’t come up with it. * 

So, there you have it. You didn’t get into this business to cure Psoriasis but surprise! you might achieve immortality. If your work has legs.  

*Sorry Ford. If it makes you feel any better, I absolutely love my ‘94 F150.