Creative person or creative professional?
Which one are you?
Give me 4 min 33 seconds at two words/second to clarify.
The shortest (three words), simplest and deepest definition of creativity was provided by Teilhard de Chardin, the paleontologist philosopher whose work has influenced almost all the 20th century thinkers on human evolution.
“Creer c’est unir”
“To create is to unite.”
Outside Andheri railway station in Mumbai, a vendor shouts, “Laal baraf khaao.” (“Enjoy red ice.”)
He unites the coldness of ice with the redness of the watermelon to create an irresistible consumer proposition.
On TV, Rajanikant’s heroics unite with the speed of 3G to create the unforgettable ZooZoo Superman.
Advertising employs creativity for ‘problem solution’: it must deliver commercial results to clients by solving the problem of influencing their customers.
But creativity has not one but three roles: ‘problem-solution’; ‘self-expression’ and ‘evolution’.
My super-talented advertising friend Rajeev Raja expresses himself through his silver flute.
My brand planner colleague Vidya Damani unites her love of human beings and her desire to understand karma to create a community of seekers: evolution at a spiritual level.
While creativity is about uniting, management operates by dividing.
Management has to invent enemies where none exist.
Copywriter versus art director: till the early 60s, timid Indian copywriters slipped their gingerly typed copy sheets under the doors of the mighty art directors; then saw the final ad in the newspapers.
Creative team vs suits.
“You bloody MBAs...your idea of excellence is excel sheets.”
Agency vs client.
“The bloody marketing manager won’t recognize a good idea if it was shoved up his...nostrils or any other orifice.”
Client and agency vs competitors.
“Look at that advertising they produce...recycling ours without shame”
Pause. Step off the merry-go-round.
What if the creative professionals said to themselves, “I have this gift of finding solutions to the client’s communication problems...why don’t I solve the problems of the advertising industry itself?”
Here are some problems defined by the agencies themselves...they have been the same for decades;-)
Problem: finding the right talent for the advertising industry (refer to all the interviews of Creative Directors in Campaign)
Problem: clients don’t respect advertising agencies and therefore pay them like vendors of plastic spoons and therefore agencies are low paymasters and therefore can’t retain talent (refer to all the speeches by the Hall of Fame Award winners)
Problem: problem-solution is mistaken for self-expression (“What? You want me to work on an agarbatti account?”)
Problem: brands command either loyalty or a premium, so why don’t ad agency brands? (refer again to all the speeches by the Hall of Fame Award winners)
If you were a creative person rather than a creative professional, wouldn’t you love to prove yourself by pitting your problem-solving genius against such seemingly intractable problems...rather than against the creation of just one more TVC?
Are there creative people who are not in advertising and who already do this?
Check out the creative people who work on the web.
Most allow others to finish their problems.
Most invite customers to solve problems.
Most important, they don’t mistake the commercial intent of their endeavour for self-expression.
Ok, my 4.33 are over.
Over to you.