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

If It’s Not Fun Making It, What’s The Point Of Making It?

I recently read an article about companies that really made an impact on me.

It wasn’t exposing any new theory or methodology.

It wasn’t connected to any particular campaign or individual.

It wasn’t even something I didn’t know, to be honest.

But it just hit the point of what makes good work culture and good work really clearly.


I’m not talking about foosball tables or free food.

It’s not artificial or contrived, it’s embedded in how you work and what you make.

It’s the thing that makes coming into work each day exciting and enjoyable.

Where taking a chance is celebrated.

Where individuality is held in the highest esteem.

Where creating anything is filled with electricity and laughter.

Where being serious about what you do and why you’re doing it doesn’t mean having to be serious about how you do it.

It’s the best thing I’ve read about agency culture in a long, long time, made better by the fact it was written by Mark Wnek – a creative director who, by his own admission, was known for being able to start a fight in an empty house.

Every single person should read it. Especially if you’re a CEO.

30 Comments so far
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best photo of queen ive ever seen.
they look a bunch of twats but happy twats.

Comment by andy@cynic

“Happy twats”. Perfect description ever.

Comment by DH

I’ll take this … it’s the best [read: only] compliment you’ve ever given the band.

Comment by Rob

it wasnt a compliment, just an observation.

Comment by andy@cynic

mark wnek seeing the fucking light is like satan deciding to be nice.
hes right too. fun in the creation makes fun in the work. i understand the fucking bean counters wont get that but its the secret ingredient to making things people will pay a fuckload of cash for. look at me gushing about a campbell post. im sick.

Comment by andy@cynic

Who are you?

Comment by DH

So many briefs have the word “fun” in them, without the author or the brand it’s for understanding what it means and what they have to do to make it happen.

Fun is important, but it can’t be mandated, only encouraged.

Comment by DH

You’re right Dave, it can’t be forced or planned, it is all about attitude and encouragement – not in the “let’s all have fun” bullshit kinda-way – but in prioritising the enjoyment of the challenge rather than the seriousness of it. Having fun doesn’t mean not taking things seriously, but for some reason, some people don’t see that. Or the value of it.

Comment by Rob

when you read fun in a brief you know for fucking sure there was no fun in it at all. if you have to be told its something, its not.

Comment by andy@cynic

I’m married. Can I still read it?

Comment by Marcus Brown

boom fucking tish.

Comment by andy@cynic

You’re just pissed you missed it. Or pissed.

Comment by Marcus Brown

I worked with Wnek for a short while. I am glad he has found a happier place, because I always thought his rage would result in a heart attack.

Comment by George

Does this mean you will now endeavour to be even more fun to work with?

Comment by John

“Even more?” You can tell you’ve never worked with him.

Comment by DH

You’ve spent too long away from irony.

Comment by John

What an enjoyable read. Thank you Robert.

Comment by Lee Hill

I’ve been in dark places. Some of you may recall that I shared the stories with you all here many moons ago.

There is a method, a mechanism, a technique and a toolkit to the lies that helped me survive this long terrible period, and I used anger (in it’s unhealthy, nasty form) as a fashion statement for the pickle I’d gotten myself into. I don’t think I’m alone with this. I think many people do the same.

It’s easy to hide behind the post-punk sentiments of ‘anger is an energy’ because it feels cool (possibly) and might look good on a T-Shirt (will all know Campbell would buy one), but it doesn’t really get you very far when one end of a laptop cable is attached to the branch of a tree and the other end is wrapped around your neck. That kind of anger leads to hate, which in turn leads to Yoda-like soundbites. Fortunately, anger also makes you shit at tying knots in laptop cables.

Happiness, the pursuit of happiness, is so wonderfully twee that we tend to ignore it. It smells of lavender and the Cotswolds. Personal happiness, however, is serious stuff: it is a responsibility to yourself, your loved ones and to everyone you work with and care for.

Getting out of that place took a lot of luck, friendship (Robert, for example, played a role in getting me back on my feet and I will always be indebted to him for what he did). The joy and sheer magic of meeting my wife, Bernadette, saved my life. She saved me.

All these things matter but I needed to embrace the idea of being happy: just for me and as soon as I did, well things just started working out for me.

Good evening.

Comment by Marcus Brown

I suppose what I’m trying to say is that happy is hard.

Comment by Marcus Brown

I actually have a ‘anger is an energy’ t-shirt because apart from being the lyrics to a Public Image Limited song, it was Cynic’s ‘brand mantra’, so to speak.

You’re right though, it can be unhealthy, and for us it was about using what culture was angry about than us personally, but your point of ‘choose happy’ is one few seem to get. They think it should come naturally – and it does, occasionally – but fundamentally, if you choose to be positive, it helps you be positive.

The key is [1] still remain objective and [2] don’t let people take you as a fool.

As for anything I did to help you realise this shift, then that is wonderful to hear but totally unnecessary to express. You’re a good man and I like good people in my life. [Despite what this blog tends to attract. Ha]

Comment by Rob

Another comments section killed. Sorry!

Comment by Marcus Brown

why the fuck are you apologising. now if you could only kill the blog as a fucking whole.

Comment by andy@cynic

This blog completes you, Andrew.

Comment by Marcus Brown

I really needed this post, and it turns out I really needed this comment too. Thanks Marcus (and Rob, of course).

Project happiness is a go! Maybe even project “I quit!” if I can muster up the courage for that… eep!

Comment by Dena

But how do you make it fun? Allow everybody to play? Perhaps – but I’m not convinced that finding the inner child is the answer – after all many nasty bullies are essentially children

Comment by John

You could start by allowing the teams to explore without immediately placing limitations on their time and response options.

Comment by George

Agreed. Sadly, for many that’s quite a leap because it’s quite an abandonment of control..

Comment by John

I think the first step is for everybody to agree that it is, and always should be fun.

Comment by Marcus Brown

[…] I wrote a while back, enjoying your work is not just important personally but it’s also commercially advantageous […]

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[…] Of course I knew he would, and while there’s been the odd rough day – ie: when it snowed – he’s enjoying himself, which is more important than many people give it credit for. […]

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