A few years ago I was surfing the Internet on a Friday afternoon and discovered a contest asking amateurs to make TV commercials for a famous ketchup brand. The prize was several thousand dollars, and your commercial would actually run on television. Instantly I had an idea for a romantic comedy in which ketchup brought two young lovers together. Romance was on my mind; I had recently started dating someone with whom I was very interested.
Then I read the rules, and swore, “Darn it; the deadline is three days from now!”
In order to make a commercial and enter the contest, I had to get a videographer, a video editor, an actor, an actress, and a place to shoot the video. Plus, I had to write a script that would squeeze my creativity into 30 seconds. Then we had to rehearse, shoot, edit, and upload the commercial to a website.
The idea was too fun to waste. I could see it perfectly in my head. In a diner, a woman walks over to a table where a single guy is having his lunch. She asks to borrow his mustard, and as she reaches for it, he grabs her hand and says in flirtatious way, “You didn't come here for mustard; you came for something else.”
Responding in kind, the woman says, “And what would that be?”
“The ketchup,” he says impishly, then squirts some into the palm of her hand and starts dipping French fries into it.
The woman is shocked and exclaims, “When you let go, you’re going to get a face full of ketchup!”
The man smiles and offers her a fry. She then picks up the bottle and squeezes her phone number in ketchup across his arm. As she’s walking away she says, “Better not let that run!”
An announcer then assures the viewer that this ketchup never runs.
I could feel the creative juices flowing in me, and I was determined to make this commercial. I got on the phone, and was immediately able to kill two birds with one stone by calling my cousin Caroline. She used to be a wedding videographer and now owns a restaurant. She loved the idea and was in. She then recommended a video editor. I called Ivan, and he was in. It took the rest of that day and all of the next to find an actor and actress. In the end, Ivan knew an attractive couple that acted. I called Ed and Shana, and they jumped on board. In between phone calls, I wrote the script.
We all got together the next morning. We spent the first half of the day shooting, and the second half editing from all the takes. We were finished by dinner time with hours to spare before the midnight deadline.
I’ve encapsulated the events, but for three days I was bursting with creative energy, and it felt fabulous. I recall that weekend as the beginning of a long run of creativity, success, and joy. I was in thrall to romantic love, and the overflowing energy from it was driving me to create some exciting new speeches and seminars for my business, which in turn was bringing me increased prosperity.
“Love me and the world is mine,” wrote lyricist David Reed in 1906. He is right because when we are in love and that love is returned, we have a foundation of comfort and confidence from which we can innovate and build. When Abraham Maslow developed his Hierarchy of Human Motivation, he placed love on the third tier or right in the middle. I know it would be hard to think about love when you’re cold and hungry; nevertheless, I’m thinking maybe it should be first—right there on the bottom supporting everything else.
Psychologist and author Gay Hendricks says that when we expand in love, we also expand in creativity and success—the three rise together. I’ve certainly experienced that, and for me, romantic love might just be the most important motivator of all. Bring it on!
Here’s a YouTube link for the above-mentioned TV commercial: Heinz Gettin’ Lucky.