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

What Adland Can Learn From Latvia About Creativity …

I’ve written a lot about the one dimensional view adland has towards who they regard as creative and creativity as a whole – except when it’s Cannes time of course – but I was recently reminded how this view remains by a recent purchase of a guitar effect pedal.

No, seriously.

I don’t mean it purely because this pedal can create infinite sustain for any musical instrument – though that is very impressive – I mean it because it was created by 3 young, Latvian electronic students who are also amateurs musicians.

Now I don’t know much about Latvia, but I don’t think ‘music technology leader’ immediately springs to mind and yet, their product has taken away all the attention from the big, established players at all the music shows it has been featured at.

What they did is – for me – an example of where creativity is at its most exciting as well as it’s most powerful … and yet so much of adland would dismiss their efforts as not only do they only value creativity in the context of art and copy, but only regard people who sit in the creative department as being creative.

Don’t get me wrong, the people in there have a very special and valuable talent … but that doesn’t mean they are the only ones who are creative and can solve commercial problems for clients.

As I said once before, it’s funny that the only people who refer to themselves as ‘creative’, are those who reside in ad agencies.

Writers don’t.
Musicians don’t.
Artists don’t.
Film makers don’t.
And Latvian electronic students – who also play musical instruments – don’t.

To be fair, many of the great creatives I’ve worked with don’t refer to themselves in such a singular way, especially as they have many ways of expressing their talent but sadly, due to the way agencies make money and clients determine good work, they are constrained in their creative expression to only doing work that fits with ‘traditional’ marketing channels. [read: the stuff that is measurable so clients feel OK paying for it]

This is annoying for many reasons, but mainly for the fact our industries future isn’t going to get better if the powers-that-be continue to think the best way to make money is to charge for process management rather than charging a premium for solving problems in the most imaginative, powerful and meaningful of ways.

As you mull that over, I have some good news for you …

It’s a long weekend here so you are free from me until Tuesday.

Now while I know you will prefer that to the ad industry sorting itself out, the fact is if we an an industry leant back into the value of creativity rather than advertising [even though we often call advertising creativity – which it is, but you know what I mean], then I am sure it would make every day feel a bit more like a holiday than a job …. which is one of the ways we actually get to the work we all strive to make.

And with that, I’m off … ta-ra.

16 Comments so far
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Creativity is expressed in far broader terms than advertising agencies care to admit. Of course many agencies are also very creative, more so the people in then, but they operate in a vastly smaller field than they would care to admit.

Comment by Lee Hill

I think part of it is that if they did admit the broadness of creativity, then they would have to admit their limitation of how they are expressing it and that would be too much to handle for some.

The capacity and capability is there – at least with some – but the funding and the remuneration agreements aren’t.

Comment by Rob

you know adland is in the fucking dumpster when some latvian students are putting out more interesting ideas. i assume its interesting, at least for guitar nerd sad bastards. still better than anything fcb had put out in the last 60 years.

Comment by andy@cynic

the holiday has been renamed get a rest from campbells bullshit day. im lobying for that to be a 365 day holiday.

Comment by andy@cynic

That would be like Christmas everyday.

Comment by DH

They might be creative with electronics but they could do with the help of an industrial designer.

Comment by DH

you just hate pianos. freak.

Comment by andy@cynic

You have a good knowledge of guitar FX pedals I see Dave.

Comment by Rob

There is a lot of creativity within ad agencies, it is just a shame that when they push out of their traditional communication model [often around award season] they create beautiful work with no commercial value, self indulgent work with zero commercial value or badly thought out, over/under-engineered technology with negative commercial value..
Good post Robert.

Comment by George


Comment by Rob

I know of some agencies who wouldn’t designate Mr Ive as a creative unless he could show he had made some 30 second Cannes winning tv spots.

Comment by Bazza

Do you know the guys behind this pedal Rob? I would be interested to talk to them.

Comment by Bazza

Only in the sense I bought it from them. Could try and get you an intro though.

Comment by Rob

That would be great.

Comment by Bazza

I believe they’re called Terence, Trent and D’Arby.

Comment by John

John FTW.

Comment by DH

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