It’s been a stressful week. A week of gruelling work, new pitches, presentations and plenty of last minute deadlines. I usually thrive on the adrenaline rush of completing a tough-as-nails project. But, off late the rush has gone. It has been replaced by a sense of dread. Dread that I’ve become more of a supplier and less of a creator.
When I try to do too much all at once, I play to the galleries. I begin cutting corners, give less attention to detail and cut myself more slack than I usually would. Mainly, because I have too much to do and too little time to do it in. Last time I checked, there were still only twenty four hours in a day.
On a micro-level, I feel creativity in print advertising has become pretty robotic. Template, layout, headline, copy, visual, logo and you are almost done. That’s what most clients want these days. There is hardly any time to think, let alone create or develop something new.
On a macro-level, on one side you have the extremely innovative award-winning advertisements. Some of them so creative that you need to have a good think or two to understand them. And once you’ve had your “aha” moment, you wonder if the rest of the world actually “got” the idea. Or had the time to give it a second thought.
On the other side, you have the extremely simple dull looking advertising that you wouldn’t give a second glance to, until you catch the word “SALE” in bold bright type, waiting to smack you right in the face if you don’t drop whatever you’re doing and rush to the nearest store to pick up whatever was being advertised.
Imagine the hours and sleepless nights spent by the creative team to create a superior conceptual ad. Pit that against this one simple word SALE, which has the power to invoke your impulses and sense of urgency like nothing else. You’ll now understand what I mean. Why be creative when you can be crass?
I’m at that point right now. Wondering what I’m doing being a stickler for details, when nobody is going to be any wiser. I have become a mass production unit, a creation of an industry that simply wants produce, without productivity.
Until that next awards function or big budget new pitch, when we have to prove to the world that we are better, bigger and bolder. Out will come the thinking caps, the sharpened pencils and the thousand scratches on the storyboard. The endless brainstorming, countless cups of coffee and late night office romances. It’s not about the client anymore. It’s about us. Who we are, what we do, and how we do it.
We must then change who we were all those months of being self-contained warehouses and morph into these highly intellectual mothballs of creativity. With pencils in our hair and upper lips that have seen better days. The boss will go on for hours about “out-of-the-box” ideas and “cutting-edge” design. Not realising that those very terms have gone out of vogue a century ago.
So, that’s when we transform. From months of mass production to a single unit factory. And if that’s not creativity, I don’t know what is.
As for me, creativity be damned. I’d settle for some good old fashioned simplicity in advertising. And honesty!!!