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

Could Someone Like This Be More Creative Than Every Creative In Every Creative Agency In The World?

OK, so that is a deliberately provocative headline, because the answer is no … but let’s put that aside for a moment.

Following on from my post about what the ad industry needs to do to attract young creative talent, I point you to this.

Read it.

It’s absolutely fantastic.

But if he was in an ad agency would he have been encouraged to do it?

Well, if he worked for one of the scam-masters, maybe … but the likelihood is he wouldn’t because they don’t like doing things that actually require commitment to the cause.

And why would this happen – or not – as the case may be?

Well, apart from the fact most agencies would regard a 19 year old as a junior and should be shackled, rather than released … agencies still don’t regard ‘technologists’ as ‘real creatives’.

At best, they’re there to serve the creative department rather than be creative in a different way.

Or said another way, they are there to respond to the creative departments idea, rather than lead it.

And this is what fucks me off with this industry.

We say we are a ‘creative’, but in most cases, what we mean is ‘only the traditional creative department’ is creative.

Utter bullshit.

That’s not to say there aren’t incredibly talented people in creative departments who can do things few can. Of course there are and when I see them, I’m in utter awe of their brilliance. But by the same token, there are creative people outside of creative departments, and agencies as a whole, who can do things they can’t.

The ones who think in terms of solving problems rather than just advertising them.

Or think in terms of developing culture changing ideas rather than just making executions.

But as long as the industry regards – and wildly protects – creativity as something directly linked to art and/or copy, we’re going to lose more and more relevance. Worse, we’re going to alienate people who could push us to greater and more exciting places.

For an industry that talks about open minds and collaboration, we’re not very good at either.

I still hope we realise this before it’s too late.

39 Comments so far
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Wouldn’t the real problem solver be the one who worked on ensuring that all parking tickets were issued correctly?

Comment by John

Not necessarily, because “correctly” still has room for interpretation. That is why I assume the developer decided to solve the problem of the issued, rather than the issuer.

Comment by George

Correctly as defined by the law. The developer is great but he solved the easier problem – the bot has standard solutions for the twelve common problems and then he himself mops up the few outliers.

And the upshot of all the appeals, of course, is a big problem namely administrative cost for the issuers of the tickets i.e. the councils and ultimately the taxpayer.

Now maybe that cost will cause the councils to work on ensuring that tickets aren’t issued incorrectly, but I wouldn’t hold my breath. Solving the big problems takes courage. Apparently.

Comment by John

If no one else had managed to solve the problem for drivers in such an easy way, I don’t think you can call it easy. He just leveled the playing field, councils doesn’t automatically mean fair.

Comment by DH

Are you talking about headphone jacks, John?

Comment by Pete

I said easier not easy.

Comment by John

You’re being a bit harsh John. I know what you’re saying, but what this kid [and he is basically a kid] has done is solve the fundamental problem from the drivers perspective … namely when they feel they have been wronged, they find it hard to appeal.

Sure, in a perfect World the way to solve it is to ensure tickets are issued correctly, but until that happens, this is a pretty smart solution.

Comment by Rob

“The developer is great” – not being harsh about him at all, just suggesting that what we think of as problems is also important.

Comment by John

For what it is worth, true technologists are a creative department but most agencies treat them as servants to it. From what I’ve read, that includes Wieden.

Comment by George

But I wholeheartedly agree with what you are saying. Creativity comes in many forms and to only value one is incredibly shortsighted and egotistical.

Comment by George

Which coincidentally are the chief character traits of many (insert hated department name here).

Comment by John

Spoken like a man who is now earning his fortune at a tech company.

Comment by DH

I have been advised to keep my mouth shut regarding your comment. And not because I necessarily disagree. Ha.

Comment by Rob

Can we spare a thought for Baz. He’s just had a difficult day trying to polish a turd.

Comment by DH

It’s very difficult to come up with new colors Dave.
(Sorry Baz, I couldn’t resist)

Comment by Pete

Time has been around for over 100 years, maybe apple could think about changing that now they’ve done the headphone hole. Oh swatch got there first, stick with innovative new colours then.

Comment by DH

baz, why the fuck did you let your bosses charge more for a fucking shit watch just because you fuckers got round to putting in the tech shit it should have come with in the first place. if you give me a freebie i might start to understand.

Comment by andy@cynic

On the bright side Baz, everyone knows the iPhone 8 – your 10th anniversary phone – is going to be epic. Let’s just hope the competition don’t aggressively innovate to make that epicness look average in 12 months time. Or maybe you just hope all their tech catches fire too. Ha.

PS: I’ll still end up buying a 7, so don’t be too sad. But I’m not upgrading the watch. I have to be honest, I’m not that keen on that at all.

Comment by Rob

Since the watch is now targetting athletes, that’s a logical decision.

Comment by John

I’ll also get one for free from my biggest client. Maybe. Ha.

Comment by Rob

This is a good post.

Comment by John

The solution is full-stack managers.

More seriously, managers who understand business rather than just the advertising business and managers who get their hands dirty in order to understand technology rather than rely on what they read in the trades.

Comment by John

You would be alarmed at the amount of managers in agencies who don’t understand creativity. Because of this they either are too heavy handed or not enough on what is produced. This is further impacted by agencies forgetting they exist to help clients prosper, not just comminicate.

Comment by George

youd be amazed how many fucking managers dont know how to manage.

Comment by andy@cynic

ok, i fucking hate commenting sensibly but this is almost a decent fucking post. youre right campbell that agencies are fucking driven by fear and ego so anyone outside of art and copy is going to get fucked over. but some of those old school fuckers are fucking good and can do shit tech nerds cant. but thats the minotity and so agencies need people who approach creative in different ways. play to their strengths not make them fit in with each other and then see where the fuck it goes. but it wont happen because most ecds dont know how to work with new style of creatives so their feedback is always based on what they know and they cant be fucked to learn even if they go round the world talking about how tech fucking savvy they are. if i was going to start an agency again (and im not campbell so dont even think it) id have 2 stages of creative, first for the tech fucks and then the comms pricks so they can do what they are great at rather than fucking pretend they can do it all. they think they can but most of them cant fucking go to the shitbox without help. but i wouldnt have any planners. not a single one of you twats.

Comment by andy@cynic


Comment by Billy Whizz

Wow, this is good. Except for the planner part but we all know you’re nothing without them … if only for having someone to bitch about.

Comment by Rob

Art + Copy + Code?

Art + Technology?

Neither Washington nor Moscow.

Comment by LuoAnLai

Excellent read Robert.

Comment by Lee Hill

Amen. It’s also one of the reasons that media agencies have been able to push into creative territories, they are happier to let anyone come up with a good idea in any shape or form/

Comment by Rob (other one)

True … but I also think part of the motivation for some media agencies to do this is less about maximising opportunity for the client – both in terms of exposure and brand value – but the ability to get additional revenue.

Not all, but when you look at the criteria for being a creative in a media agency and realise it’s about speed more than creativity, there’s definitely some.

Comment by Rob

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