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So every year, various magazines release their list of ‘creative people’.
Unlike adland, they look broad rather than narrow which is why every year, adland generally fails to appear anywhere on the list.
That said, even when they do, it’s often because of one campaign – which is probably why, this year, Fast Company decided to celebrate some guy at JWT Shanghai rather than Dan Wieden.
Look, I have nothing against Elvis Chau [#84] but with the greatest respect, as lovely as his Samonsite ad – not campaign, ad – is, I have to question whether that truly makes him more creative than say Vivi Zigler, President of NBCUniversal digital entertainment [#89] or Carla Schmitzberger, President of Havaianas [#97] or Sally Grimes, Global vice president of Sharpie [#100]
OK, so obviously Fast Company thinks it does – which is fair enough – but it makes me question whether Fast Companies criteria and methodology for working out who appears on this list might be a teensy bit flawed.
But this is not what this post is about.
For me, it’s far scarier that adland – an industry that sells itself on it’s ability to be commercially creative – continually fails to appear anywhere significant on these lists.
To me, that is what should worry us all.
OK, so some of it might be because we don’t have the same amount of publicists as others on this list do [Claire Diaz-Ortiz, Twitter’s Manager of Social Innovation – #21 – really???] but maybe it’s because we’re just not as creative as we like to think we are.
Yes, I’ve said it.
Maybe we’re just not that good.
OK, so some people obviously are but as I’ve said previously, anyone can do something of note every now and then, the real test of your creative skill is whether you can continually do it and do it in a way that affects culture, not just the advertising industry.
This obsession with pleasing our peers is literally fucking our future.
Adland is capable of doing amazing things.
Big … bold … powerful … meaningful and commercial things … but unless, as David Ogilvy said, we get back to craving the ringing of our clients cash registers rather than our peers applause, we’re forever going to stifle our commercial creative chops which could be another reason we don’t appear more regularly on meaningless ‘creative’ tables.
Though judging by some of who Fast Company celebrate, I doubt it.
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