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

The Hammer And The Feather …

One of my pet hates is when people think the best way to brief creativity is to say what they want to see, not the problem they need to be solved.

Whether it was where I worked … or who I worked with … I didn’t encounter this much at the beginning of my career. But as marketing lost its clout – and so standards increasingly fell – I’ve seen it happen a hell of a lot more.

I wish I could say I deal with this sort of situation well, but let’s say there is ‘room for improvement’.

Oh I can hear Andy as I type this.

“If they don’t know how to do their job, you can do your job anyway you choose” … but fights don’t solve anything other than a temporary moment of relief.

I know … you’re wondering who am I?

Don’t worry, I did say I have room for improvement because frankly, I still suck at dealing with this sort of thing, even if I’m way better than I used to be.

One of the worst situations I ever encountered was in Malaysia when a client complained about the way an actors hand looked in a print ad.

I should point out the ad wasn’t about hands, didn’t focus on hands and the hand in question was perfectly normal … but for some insane reason, he wanted it reshot – at our cost – suggesting it would ruin everything.

I genuinely thought they were joking when they first said it, so laughed.

And then he looked at me like I’d just smashed his mother in the face and asked ‘what the hell was I laughing at?’

I’d love to say I responded in a calm, professional manner … however, well, you can guess.

That said, I also put a proposition to him that said if there was commentary about the hand when the campaign launched, we would not only pay for a re-shoot, but we would refund 25% of our costs to him. However if nothing was said, then he had to pay us an additional 50% of our costs.

He lost interest in his argument after that and – surprise surprise – there was absolutely no commentary about the freak hand that wasn’t freaky whatsoever.

I say this because I recently read about the 1994 movie, Street Fighter, featuring Jean-Claude Van Damme and errrrrm, Kylie Minogue.

The film was rubbish [though it’s now seen as a camp classic, like the Queen soundtracked ‘Flash Gordon’ that preceded it] and the making of it was a rollercoaster but writer/director Steven de Souza makes a comment that is not just insightful, but highlights how creativity not only solves problem … but can do it in the most bombastic or gentle of ways.

It’s a lesson we could all do with remembering.

Especially those who dictate what outcomes, not identify their problems.

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