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

Creativity Without Bruises And Scars Is Not Great Creativity …

A while back – when I was running The Kennedys – I told the guys about how hard it is to make great work.

Ironically, the issue was less about the expression of creativity – though there is always difficulties in that – but in actually getting your precious idea through all the gatekeepers/processes/people without it being impeded, diluted or impacted.

Now don’t get me wrong, being pushed to be better is always good, but it appears we now live in times where the goal of others seems to be the reverse.



Ego/Career management.

Or as my dear friend George once said:

“Creativity today is a client going to the doctor, telling them their expertise is wrong and then prescribing their own medicine.”

Of course people are entitled to their opinion.

Of course ad industry creativity needs to be commercial creativity.

But right now, it appears many clients version of ‘commercial’ is to either communicate what they want people to care about [regardless if they care about it, or believe it] or to say things where absolutely no one can ever be offended because what they want to communicate makes beige look bold.

And because adland – or should I say some within adland – has sold the value of creativity down the river in favour of making fees from process and production, the entire industries ‘creativity’ is being called into question.

What has happened to wanting to make work that makes culture take notice?

What has happened to wanting to making work others wished they had made?

What has happened to wanting to make work that changes entire categories?

Yes, I know there are some that still fly the flag of great work – but not many and not always consistently – and what’s worse is that we, as an industry, have contributed to this situation but what really gets to me … what really pisses me off … is that I feel we are continuing to pander to the wishes and demands of the organisations we are supposed to help, the organisations who – for whatever reason – are undermining our industries value and long-term future.

I’m not saying we should be arrogant.

Or rude.

Or forget why clients hire us.

But come on, why be a doctor when we let the patient diagnose themselves, which is why I absolutely loved this piece by the phenomenal Dave Trott.

At the beginning of this post, I wrote about how I had taught The Kennedy’s that great creativity doesn’t come without bruises and scars … well, if we still want to stand a chance of making the work that shows how brilliant we can be, then we better be prepared to fight harder for it, because being the punching bag is hurting everyone … us, our clients, our audiences.

21 Comments so far
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Marketers can’t market their ideas. Ironic, isn’t it?

Comment by Chikashi

Two successive posts with which I completely agree. This week can’t end soon enough.

Comment by John

you too. its not just me. thank fuck. im calming myself by saying theyre not campbells work but doncaster council and trott.

Comment by andy@cynic

At least we know it is impossible it will last.

Comment by DH

Rob is stealing inspiration like a Nottingham thief steals handbags.

Comment by DH

silver fucking lining.

Comment by andy@cynic

This is like the best Christmas present ever. Let’s be honest, it’s the only one I’ll get …

Comment by Rob

this may be the first time ive ever fucking said this but i like 2 posts of yours on 2 consecutive days.

Comment by andy@cynic

It’s a Christmas miracle …

Comment by Rob

Another great post. You’re ending the year on a series of highs. I agree with everything you said. It seems we the fight for great creativity is being slowly chipped away by client apathy and dictatorship. They wield their budgets like a sword and agencies seem to have forgotten their work is their shield. Great read.

Comment by George

Yes x1000.

Comment by Pete

Totally mate. I like this comment so much I’m going to steal it to articulate the point of the post to a client who has just written to me with the words, “am I that bad?”

[They’re not, they’re one of the good guys … demonstrated by the fact they asked when we all know the guilty would never have that level of self-awareness]

Comment by Rob

Your clients are reading this? It’s been nice knowing you Rob. Well, not nice exactly, but OK.

Comment by DH

Shouldn’t this “good guy” question whether you’d tell one of the guilty that they were one of the guilty?

Comment by John

I think he knows I would given I did to one of his colleagues on our first meeting. Or I hope he knows.

Comment by Rob

See what I did there?

Comment by John

From this post, it appears there are clients say in marketing departments who have forgotten what marketing is or who they should be aiming their marketing at.

Comment by Lee Hill

Junior marketing managers telling senior writers how to write ‘punchy’ copy and management saying nothing. Just one story from a grim MN, sane yoof are joining other fun parties.

Comment by John

[…] As I wrote before, to get to great work you’ve got to accept it will leave scars. […]

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