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


Make Problems Your Friend …
February 23, 2017, 6:15 am
Filed under: Comment

I recently met a creative who was incredibly vocal on how they think all clients are stupid.

Now I know there are some clients who can make Kim Kardashian look like Einstein … but every discipline has their fair share of total bloody idiots, so I asked them what they hated about them so much.

Their reply was “They keep putting obstacles in front of me doing my work”.

When I asked what they meant, they said they wanted to do whatever they think is good.

And here lies the issue … some of us are still confusing commercial creativity with creativity.

But here’s the thing I don’t quite get.

If the goal for these people is to feel they are brilliant … then, in theory, commercial creativity should be a much better way of achieving that.

Is it really a challenge when you are given the freedom to do whatever you want?

Is that really showing others what you are capable of doing … achieving … overcoming?

The fact is, we’re paid money by clients to help them move forward. If we ignore their situation in our solutions, then we’re not doing what we’re paid for and what we are brilliant at.

That doesn’t mean we can’t approach their challenge in very different ways to what was expected.

Hell, that’s actually what we’re supposed to do.

But somewhere along the line, some people have decided ‘challenges’ are inhibiting their creativity and I find that bizarre.

Answering a problem in the most imaginative, intriguing and creative way possible is an infectious feeling.

It shows how you can think and do things in ways few can imagine.

Of course, if the challenge you have been given is the wrong challenge, then you have a point to complain. Just like you do if a client keeps adding challenges to their original challenge … but if people out there think they should be able to do whatever the hell they want – regardless of what the situation requires – then they have 3 choices. Take a long hard look at how they are selling their ideas to their client, pack in advertising and become an artist or start their own business.

Problems are the lifeblood of our creativity, we should look at them as our friend because the harder they are, the more prestige they can give us when we answer them brilliantly.

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22 Comments so far
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Comment by Bazza

how old was the creative who said that?

i bet they were under 25 and had been working in adland for 10 fucking minutes. i bet if you saw their book it would be full of puns, stunts and film ideas that never got made. you need those fuckers in a department. they add energy and crazy but you never let them have a fucking opinion on whats right because the fuckers havent done anything real to get any fucking experience.

Comment by andy@cynic

Sounds more like someone who thinks the answer to everything is to make a $3 million film. A $3 million film “inspired” by whatever music video/indie film has got all the headlines.

Comment by DH

Unless they’re complaining because the planner and suit are getting in the way with their opinions and creative direction. Then they’re totally cool with their complaining.

Comment by DH

You and I have both met creatives under 25 who are amazing … so it’s not an age thing … but I do understand where you’re coming from. And age aside, all the things you say are pretty true in this particular example, except what they wanted to do was an ad that was very similar to an old ad that the brand in question did that was [rightly] described as a classic.

Why the hell they would want to remake it is beyond me because as Hollywood has taught us, remakes very, very, very rarely improve on the original.

Comment by Rob

and my previous comment does not endorse your fucking post one little bit. got it?

Comment by andy@cynic

It does for me. Oh yes …

Comment by Rob

Excellent last paragraph Robert.

Comment by George

I thought the “when” was a tad optimistic.

Comment by John

Depending on the agency, but yeah, very optimistic.

Comment by DH

Having recently watched one of those videos in which two senior creatives critique three recent ads, I think it would be tactically smarter for your creative pal not to throw stones in glass houses.

Comment by John

The one you sent me? Yeah … that was pretty terrible.

And they were soooooo wrong with their Adidas critique … and I’m not saying that because I work with NIKE, but because I live in China and what was being communicated was about 5 years too late.

The worst part is the people behind that ad were almost all ex-Wieden Shanghai people. I’ve scolded them.

Comment by Rob

what the fuck is that? send it to me now campbell.

Comment by andy@cynic

John? Have you got it … I can’t find it now.

Comment by Rob

and in an instant the final dregs of adland being in touch with the commoners is fucking stamped on and killed.

Comment by andy@cynic

Sadly this proves my theory that the only people who would invite these sort of people to a dinner party are advertising people.

Comment by George

Posted here becuse Andy’s cynic email stopped working some months ago. Or maybe he just blocked me.

Comment by John

works for every other fucker. ill get some nerd to check it out then ill block you.

Comment by andy@cynic

Brilliant post Rob. I think this kind of response is a reaction to clients who try to dictate the response they get. Treating creative departments more like a production house. That doesn’t mean it is right, but more to highlight the issue is caused by many culprits.

Comment by Pete

Hear, hear. Limitations are a spur to creativity. Norman Berry talked about having ‘the absolute freedom of a tight brief’.

Comment by Ian Gee

Can I have his client(s)?

Comment by Marcus Brown




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