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  • Bob Hoffman


Albert Einstein was a pretty smart guy.

What most people don't know about Einstein is that in addition to uncovering the laws of relativity, the equivalency of mass and energy, and predicting that the speed of light was constant, he also said -- without knowing it -- the smartest thing ever said about advertising.

After his amazing successes as a young man, Einstein spent the rest of his life searching for what was called the "grand unified theory" -- a theory that would unify all the forces of nature including gravity, electro-magnetism, the strong nuclear force, and the weak nuclear force. Many physicists believed that these four forces must be different manifestations of one underlying force.

Einstein worked for forty years on this problem and failed in his attempts to uncover a grand unified theory. To date, no one has found it, and things have gotten even more confused with the discovery of dark energy and dark matter.

Near the end of his life he was being interviewed. The interviewer asked Einstein if he thought a grand unified theory would ever be found. He said, "The answer to this problem, when found, will be simple."

There's a lesson in there for us. No matter how complex a marketing or advertising problem may appear to be; no matter how much research has been done; no matter how many account planning insights have been concocted; no matter how many MBAs are complicating the shit out of it; no matter how many 100 page decks have been written, and Powerpoint presentations have been made, remember what Uncle Albert said -- the correct idea, when found, will be simple.

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