There is a great article in today's Ad Age that challenges creatives to ask for help. The author, Kevin Roddy is Chief Creative Officer of the awesome BBH, and he makes a very convincing case for the argument that, given the complexity of contemporary marketing, creative folks need to get off the high horse and solicit help. Technology and media are just too complicated
But when it comes to creativity today -- a new world that encompasses everything from iAds to augmented reality -- it's a whole different ballgame.
So far, so good. Hooray for this enlightened approach that acknowledges that the writer and art director as the unit of creative output needs to evolve and expand to include different skills and expertise. A lot has been written about this, we all seem to agree on this point. But there is one sentence in the article that made me pause, and question whether the advice offered really goes far enough.
As creative directors it is still, ultimately, our responsibility. We are, like it or not, better qualified to judge and direct great creative work, of any kind, than anybody else
Better qualified? Why? How can we accept a blanket term like creative work to account for everything possible today that goes beyond words and pictures (to quote Faris)? Does one Creative Director today possibly have the ability to judge and direct creative work of any kind? Is that even possible?
I fail to see how a Creative Director of an advertising agency with the experience of dealing with a very specific kind of creative output is best qualified to judge and direct the many different forms of creative output that brands today demand. This includes content, of course, but also the explosion in possibilities with brand utility, services and products. This has been discussed elsewhere, I know. The reason I bring it up here is because the rest of the article was so dead on that if you blinked, you might have missed this very simple yet fundamental assumption that persists in advertising agencies regarding the qualification of Creative Directors in the landscape today.
Much better, I think to commit all the way and imagine what true creative collaboration looks like today. Yes, I know that too many cooks in the kitchen is a recipe for disaster, and that the kind of co ordination and collaboration required today remains elusive. But that should hardly pardon us from asking the tough questions, and calling in to question the most basic assumptions on which the industry is based. My hunch is that this particular assumption is probably the one most deeply embedded in the fabric and culture of advertising agencies. It is taken for granted, and the toughest to truly challenge and change.