This lack of depth and understanding is never more obvious than at the
beginning of the year when people in the industry are asked what is
important for the year ahead.
The answers I read were in a trade
mag and what struck me was how similar the answers were. Almost
everybody answered that creativity was the way forward. Initially that
made me happy but then I got this weird feeling of dread. Really? These
people all passionately believe in creativity? Half these people
wouldn't know what creativity was if it kicked them in the nuts. It was
like some publicist had told them that creativity was the right answer.
It was like they were going through the motions in a glitterless
pantomime. They had made creativity just a word. And what's worse, they
had made it sound boring and unimportant.
This year it felt like
these people were treading water in a pool of corporate correctness.
They were waiting for something. Doing only what was required. There was
no danger or audaciousness. It felt like they had no confidence or
point of view.
There have been many that have said advertising needs to get its confidence back. The question is always how?
I answer that, lets look at the industry landscape. In the last 6
months, some of the greatest advertising agencies that have ever been
have disappeared. Poof. Gone forever. Insert Kodak story.
did they disappear because of what we all say is the most important
thing in advertising. Creativity? No. Perhaps the work got worse in the
end but I can promise you it wasn't because the creatives didn't try. I
know, I spoke to them.
These agencies disappeared because people
cared about the wrong things. These agencies disappeared because they
became boring. These agencies disappeared because they stopped having a
point of view. And creativity, became just a word. It stopped meaning
anything. When that happens, no process, delivery mechanism or structure
can save you. The centre cannot hold because you have nothing of value
anymore. There is nothing to sell.
To answer the original
question, confidence in our industry has always come from doing, not
talking. That will never change. Turning creativity into a verb. Making
shit. Astounding the world. Doing what has never been done. Doing what
others won't or can't. Being brave and trying very hard to create a
little magic. Doing will give us our confidence and in turn begin to
change the way we see ourselves.
2019 is not the year where we
have the luxury of simply going through the motions. We cannot give the
same boring answers. We need to remember what we are capable of. We need
to fight. We have to believe in creativity again. It cannot just be a
word. We have to make it mean something. There is no other way.
As an industry, we need to remember that our confidence has always come from building dangerous cathedrals.