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

So Much For Planners Having All The Smart Thinking …

One of the things that has always bugged me about planners is that some think they’re the only ones who are curious enough to see the World in interesting ways.

I’ve written about how much bollocks it is – not to mention how much it pisses me off – but in this world of social, it feels we are seeing more and more of the interesting points of view coming from outside the discipline than in it.

More than that, it feels we’re even seeing more and more of the interesting ideas coming from outside the industry than in it too.

From Rihanna creating make-up foundation that is suited to African American skin as well as white through to meme creators – such as Unchisenpai – questioning what is considered cheating in a world of global competition.

[Though their observation on how we came up with the word ‘boob’ is genius]

Now I appreciate that some of this is less to do with the talent in the industry and more the limitations placed on us by clients – though how that came about is another discussion for another day – but in an industry that is seemingly talking to itself more and more [see: planner twitter] the rule to creative inspiration remains the same:

Look for those who are doing or thinking interesting things rather than those who just know interesting things.

The things I’ve learnt from my time with China, Metallica and The Kennedys have been monumental in terms of seeing what creativity truly is, what it can do and what it can be.

It’s also helped me have a deeper understanding of how to nurture it, protect it, encourage it and liberate it.

This is not meant as a diss to adland.

I love the industry and accept it has been amazing to me.

I’ve learnt – and continue to learn – so much from the many amazingly talented and generous people who work, or have worked, within it. I detest how much the industry has been undermined and undervalued by so many when – given the freedom to do what it does best – it is capable of achieving equally incredible things.

This is simply a reminder that some of the most interesting expressions of creativity – and commerciality – exist outside of our bubble and if we continue to close ourselves off to it, or think we’re superior to it, then we’re literally limiting ourselves in terms of seeing and understanding what creativity can help us create, build and change.

23 Comments so far
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If only Apple knew how to keep innovating their products rather than just remake old products. (Sorry Baz, I couldn’t resist)

Comment by Pete

Don’t be mean Peter, it takes a lot of creativity to think of relaunching the iPhone 4 and calling it the 12.

Comment by George

Oh look at you both being corporate toadies. Hahaha.

Comment by Rob

Where is Baz?

Comment by Pete

Jealousy makes people petty.

Comment by Bazza

Good post Rob. The problem I see is that while everyone may be creative, that doesn’t mean everyone is able to do it to a high standard. People forget that second part. Creativity requires constant inspiration, but there’s a school of thought out there that suggests if you can draw a circle on your smartphone, you’re creative.

Comment by Pete

I agree that creativity has been diluted but it’s dangerous to suggest it can only be appreciated and applied by the elite. I know that’s not what you’re saying but the direction of your comment can go there very quickly.

Comment by George

I hear you George, but in the commercial creative industry I think Pete has a point. It’s a bit like twitter. Your experience is directly linked to who you follow … so to be great, you need to expose yourself and be surrounded by those who think and do things differently.

Suddenly the people you may have written off for being too avant garde or too nerdy or too experimental open a door to your own abilities you never knew.

Is that elitist? Maybe.

But in the commercial industry, I feel inspiration should always be to the highest level not the lowest. [And by ‘high’, I don’t mean people have to be acclaimed, I just mean they have to be doing something intriguing, interesting and with a way of looking at the world that makes you stop and think]

Comment by Rob

That’s exactly what I meant Rob. Especially your comment in the brackets.

Comment by Pete

dont be a twat george.

Comment by andy@cynic

Now I know what if feels to be like Robert.

Comment by George

because you were called a twat? thats nothing like campbell feels. you would have to be a no hoper from nottingham with a fucking disgusting taste in music, fashion and taste to be anywhere near that, youre close with the fucked taste, but youre no nottingham scum.

Comment by andy@cynic

While I am not in total agreement with Peter’s earlier point, I agree that creativity has become defined by brands as something that can only be clean, purposeful and polished. This is one from of creative expression, but as you write in your post (and the one a while back about the Ring doorbell drone) where it gets exciting is working with people or cultures who either have different boundaries and rules, or actively choose to ignore them, to create something that changes the way you look at what’s possible as opposed to reinforcing it.

Comment by George

Yes. This. Absolutely this.

Too many of us are staying in carefully crafted bubbles and actively reject anyone who has a different POV. Worse, we label the person challenging our system as wrong … not good enough … when they may be the one who pushes us to a new place.

Yes, there are times where that response may be valid. But I’ve seen far too many experienced people enter companies and have the organisation attempt to undermine their confidence because ultimately they didn’t want anyone shining a light on where they could be better because it would mean holding up a mirror to their carefully constructed ego of self-appointed excellence.

No one likes to know where they’re not as good as they’ve convinced themselves they are … but if you want to be great, you hear it rather than immediately and actively fight against it. There’s a lot of fighting against it these days.

Comment by Rob

“Cultural fit” translates to not challenging the system and being grateful for what they have.

Challenging the rules doesn’t mean you are a rebel, even more so when the intent is to potentially make the outcome even better.

Comment by Pete

Well said Pete.

Comment by Lee Hill

Everyone kick George.

Comment by DH

Funny, my grand pa. Guy that was a military prisoner in WWII, walked back from Stalingrad to France, then built from nothing a company, only to lose it all (including selling his own children’s toys to pay the banks), and then get it all back again, only to die at 58 without enjoying any of his success. You would think he would have considered of himself as a ‘ubermensch’ with incredible selfbelief, but he survived that walk taking care of someone wounded that knew how to survive in the wild and winter, his first company bankruptcy hitting him hard was because he paid off all debts and employees before himself, and took the hit on himself, but those same people then came back to help him build again the next company. His lesson to me was simple “spend your time surrounding yourself with people that are better than yourself, that is the real luxury, people that scare you, that will push you, that will carry you, and nurture them and believe in them in ways nobody have ever done before”. In an industry living on talent, we seem obsessed with the idea the creative director, GAD, BD or head of planning have to be the smartest/most creative in the room, when they should be spending their time finding those that are scaring them, pushing them, contradicting them, and creating progress for them.

Comment by Al

Even people who have never commented on here agree with us George. Great comment Al.

Comment by Pete

As you have said for many years Robert, if you are not moving forward, you’re moving backwards.

Comment by Lee Hill

problem with fucking planners is most of them dont have any point of view. they want to be patted on the fucking head by clients rather than start a fucking fight to get to somewhere interesting. always been the case but right now it seems like the planning world needs to be renamed the pandering world.

Comment by andy@cynic

Strategic panderers is brilliant.

Comment by DH

Creative panderer.

Comment by John

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