The Musings Of An Opinionated Sod [Help Me Grow!]

Stop Thinking, Start Feeling …
March 19, 2014, 6:10 am
Filed under: Comment

Over the years I’ve written about how much I hate writing creative briefs and how I often use music as some sort of personal planning tool.

The reason I mention this is because recently I came across a quote that seemed to explain why these 2 subjects are inherently linked:

You see the problem I have is that I often think too much about something.

OK, that’s wrong, we should never undermine the ability to think something through with rigour and purpose … it’s just that sometimes, in my focused state [I know, amazing eh!] I find it almost impossible to express all that I’ve learnt and had to consider in a simple – yet interesting – way.

And that’s where music helps and why that quote is so good.

You see once I’ve worked out the context of what I’m trying to convey, I basically look for songs that have that theme in their title and then just listen to them.

I know that sounds utterly ridiculous, but you’d be surprised how often there is a lyric that captures what you are looking to express but in a thought-provoking, infectious way.

Of course it doesn’t always work, but recently I was trying to think of the best way to articulate an idea around the concept of ‘restlessness’. I had tried so many different ways but my gut told me I didn’t have it.

[That’s another thing, for all the talk about processes and tools, more often that not what is right is something you ‘feel’, but that’s a post for another day]

So I went through my music collection and found a song by Bad English called – conveniently enough – The Restless Ones.

Anyway, as I was listening, I heard a line which said, “Let Them Know You Came” and immediately I knew that was it.

It perfectly encapsulated what we needed to say.

What would resonate and also liberate.

What would let us create work that you would feel, rather than be told.

What would turn my creative brief from functional to exciting.

And that’s why I like that above quote so much.

Sure, I know what I’ve described isn’t exactly true to what is being said, but the whole ‘released from the tyranny of conscious thought’ made a big impression on me, because when you’re at the point of writing a brief, it’s sometimes hard to turn off your brain from screaming out all the details you’ve learnt along the way … details that can throw you off course because they add distractions rather than clarity.

You see when you write a brief, you want it to be as exciting, infectious and ‘bursting with possible’ as possible … and the reason I often fall back on the power of music to help me out of a hole is because musicians often have a way of expressing a viewpoint in the most powerful, meaningful and emotional of ways, and if you can find the right fit, you can end up with a perspective that opens big doors rather than creates small boxes.

Or said another way, music removes the noise but keeps the beat.

Now if only I followed this approach when it comes to writing my blog posts eh?

36 Comments so far
Leave a comment

After the randomness of the previous 2 days posts, this is a welcome relief. Music is fascinating, not just from a sonic perspective but in the way it’s lyrics can encapsulate emotions on a huge scale through to the biological effect BPM have on mood, regardless where you originate from.
While I enjoyed this post (“Let them know you came” is a great thought) I think you should write more about this subject because you’ve done much with it that I think will be interesting and useful for others to hear. Nice work Robert.

Comment by George

Did your BPM study ever get released George? I am sure people would find it very interesting.

Comment by Pete

It wasn’t and I am unable to reprint it because it was done and paid for by another organisation.

Comment by George

yaaaaaaaawn. more fucking importantly, its my birthday soon, what the fuck are you getting me?

Comment by andy@cynic

A bus pass?

Comment by Dan

Isn’t it over a month away?

Comment by DH

and your point is fucking what dave?

dan. youve not had the pleasure of meeting me so be grateful for that because it saves you being smashed in the fucking face. besides, if any fucker needs a bus pass its the person who hires campbell for his company. you are dan w arent you?

Comment by andy@cynic

To be honest George, I’m not sure if I know how to write something serious anymore, but I can try. Better yet, what if you wrote it and I posted it? You were the one behind so much of the experiment … what do you say?

Comment by Rob

for fucks sake, no.

Comment by andy@cynic

I second George’s comment. A welcome relief from the previous days frivolities. An interesting read.

Comment by Lee Hill

What do you mean the randomness of the past 2 days. Don’t you mean of the past 7 years?

Comment by DH

So does this mean Kerrang and Classic Rock magazines are insight manuals? This is all so you can claim your subscriptions and iTunes purchases on tax isn’t it. Didn’t you once claim your new bed should be a tax deduction because you needed good nights sleep to do your job right? Bernie Madoff is an amateur compared to you.

Comment by DH

Is the bed thing true?

Comment by Pete

Yes. Though I failed when I attempted to do the same.

Comment by George

campbells blackmail black book knows no fucking bounds. thats a weapon of mass fucking destruction if i ever fucking saw one. and i want one. jammy bastard.

Comment by andy@cynic

It’s true. If you listen to queen the insight is you’re a deaf c**t.

Comment by Billy Whizz

And you can’t slag me off Rob because I followed your c word rule.

Comment by Billy Whizz


Comment by andy@cynic

Thanks. I think …

Comment by Rob

Yes I did and yes the kind Australian Taxman let it through. Trust me, I was as surprised as them – but that’s what having an ex-Enron accountant does for you.

[I’m joking, he wasn’t ex-Enron, he just could have been]

Comment by Rob

“Removes the noise but keeps the beat”. Nice.

Comment by Pete

i dont know whats worse, the mills & boon shit of yesterday or this planner wank of today. i listened to that song that gave you such inspiration, im surprised the idea that came out wasnt “hairy rock is a load of shit.”

Comment by andy@cynic


Comment by DH

Great stuff. Thank you Rob.

Comment by Rob Scotland

Pleasure Rob, hope you come back again some time.

Comment by Rob

he wont.

Comment by andy@cynic

Favorite post in a while. Thanks.

Comment by Ciaran McCabe

You live! Hello Ciaran – how the hell are you?

I can say with pretty good certainty, you might like a few of the posts coming up. They’re almost serious. Almost.

Comment by Rob

Am I the only one here who is slightly disturbed (yet fantastically amused) by “Let Them Know You Came” as a strategic direction? I can only imagine the creative filth and deviance your brief will have ahem, stimulated.

Comment by Martin Weigel

thats fucking nothing, when i worked with the dick he once had “ugly mouths dont get laid” for fucking colgate.

Comment by andy@cynic

Doesn’t Martin’s comment say more about him than Rob? That’s not an insult, it makes me like him.

Comment by DH

I don’t want to sound like the pedantic planner that I am, but “Ugly mouths don’t get laid” is too obvious and self-evident to really count as an insight. It’s more of an observation rather than a revelation….

Comment by Martin Weigel


Comment by John

I hadn’t seen any of this conversation and I have to say it’s very scary. Almost as scary as the discussion revolving about the sexual innuendo of my work.

As for the ‘ugly mouths’ … yes, we did put that forward to Colgate but what Andy conveniently forgot to say was why we did it and it wasn’t because we wanted them to buy it, but to prove to them that their ‘insight’ work had no insight in it [as you say Martin] and without that, you could make anything justifiable.

They kicked us out of the meeting and never invited us back. Win:Win in my book.

Comment by Rob

“Music begins where words end”. (Goethe).

Comment by Ian Gee

Reblogged this on Not another dinosaur. and commented:
Top tips for writing great briefs:

1) Don’t over think things.
2) Release yourself from the tyranny of conscious thought
3) Express everything in a simple yet interesting way
4) Something that allows people to ‘feel’ not ‘be told’
5) Turn functional into exciting
6) Ignore details and distractions and focus on clarity
7) Briefs that are exciting, infectious and ‘bursting with possible’
8) A proposition that opens doors rather than creates small boxes

Comment by Brenda.

Leave a Reply