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Creativity Squared: Never Ending Possibilities with Iarina Comănescu

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Cheil | Centrade’s copywriter on being a daydreamer, connecting with gen z and why growing up in a small town lead to a world of creativity

Creativity Squared: Never Ending Possibilities with Iarina Comănescu

Iarina Comănescu, copywriter at Cheil | Centrade in Romania, singer, and lyricist. Strongly connected with all things gen z and passionate about creative ideas that speak to the heart. Entered the industry as a junior strategic planner while still being in college studying Advertising. Later I switched to creatives where I have been designing digital campaigns for cool youth brands ever since. 


Person

I am a daydreamer. Although I’m not really a social butterfly, I love being around people and allowing their stories to inspire me. If I accidentally zone out during a meeting, I am probably in my head imagining scenarios or exploring ideas. 

For me the world means never-ending possibilities. It all starts and ends in our minds – the creations, the expectations, the things we feel we deserve. If I wake up today and decide the world is good to me, it really is. There are, for sure, some things about the world we can’t control – but what we do with that belongs to us, always. 

My imagination has been my happy space for as long as I can remember – so I believe one can be born with a significant dose of creativity. For sure everything that happened in my life enhanced it and made me want to explore it more. I don’t think you can learn how to be creative, but I believe you can grow in this direction through necessity.  

I think it’s safe to say I’m an extraverted introvert. Being in the centre of attention usually puts my entire body on alert mode but I also like exchanging stories with people and talking about the craziest experiences. Deep conversations are my thing and I usually have zero energy for small talk – if you are all in, then I am all in. 

When it comes to routine, I am not a big fan of it. I believe this is what kills my creativity from time to time. I resurrect it by slightly changing my workspace, the books I read or the places I go after work. When it comes to creative stuff, I am always drawn to what I like to create myself. Those are the things that ignite a spark in me although I am a fan of creativity in every shape or form. 


Product 

The brands I worked with so far are strongly connected to Gen Z so every piece of work I deliver has to be cool. If the idea is not catchy and the promo part is way too in your face, it will not work. For me, creativity also means touching. If I get an emotion from people with my creation, it means I did a good job. 

When I first started out as a copywriter, I was obsessed with coming up with never done before ideas. It was definitely not a realistic target, especially for a newbie, and was a significant source of frustration. Now I focus on getting a strong emotional response from the target and solving their problems rather than generating a big but not so moving idea. 

One campaign I am really proud of is the one I am currently working on together with the Cheil | Centrade team –Samsung’s 22 Epic Nights music album. We are in the middle of releasing 22 songs inspired by fun nights out and teenage emotions – so there is a lot to explore here. Although the project was born long before I joined the Creative team, getting to mix my passions – advertising and music – brings me so much joy and fulfilment. 

Another project I am proud of came right at the beginning of my creative journey when I was still a Junior Copywriter. Lay’s, one of my biggest clients at the time, gave us a Christmas TikTok brief – that was the first pandemic Christmas aka the first Christmas most of us spent away from our loved ones. So, I imagined a TikTok effect which helped users offer virtual presents to those who were far away. The client loved it – and TikTok users loved it too. This digital activation got me my first prize ever – a bronze in the Best TikTok Campaigns category at the Webstock Awards. 

I love that the industry understood the power of creativity and started talking clients into accepting more bold and powerful work. It’s a change that could have come from the agencies only since clients are mostly keen on efficiency – which is very understandable. There is still some progress to make here but I believe we are on the right track. 


Process

When I am starting a project, If there is enough time, I usually start by writing down everything that comes to mind. This can take a day or two – no pressure, just letting the mind explore the subject. I don’t even sit at my desk for that. Walks in the park or talks with close ones usually lead to great insights. 

If the deadline is very fast approaching, I go bullseye with what I feel has the best chance to work and start building the idea from that. My cat Chili is always here for honest feedback. 

All my ideas are stored in fancy colourful (sometimes glittery) notebooks. I simply love writing on actual paper with an actual pen. It makes my mind clearer and my inner child happy. :) 

One technique that doesn’t work for me is brainstorms. Brainstorms are great if they last an hour or less. I tried spending more time searching for ideas with my colleagues and it just didn’t work for me – after one hour I was exhausted and I lost my focus. Long brainstorming seems to work for other Creatives, but I prefer continuing digging on my own for better results. 

I like starting projects as blank sheets but the creative examples around me impact my work for sure. 

I must admit I work better alone with my thoughts and glittery notebooks. But there are times when I crave creative ping pongs – it all depends on my mood. Anyhow, I can also adapt so as long as there is creativity, it works either way. 

Whenever I feel stuck in the creative process I tend to get really frustrated – we all love a smooth process. After getting past this not-so-nice feeling I try to fully disconnect from the project and work on something else or simply get out of the house. Putting my energy elsewhere for a while usually helps. 

After a few years in the industry, I realised one single creative brief can be solved in so many ways. So, we should stop looking for our idea of perfection – like I used to do – and focus on the red story line instead. If it makes sense and solves the problem in a good, creative way, then the work is done. 


Press

I grew up in a small town with not many things to do around. There were no malls, no theatres, no fancy toys and not many children to play with, so I used to spend most of my time inside. It was kind of lonely, so I had to improvise. During those times I developed a passion for creating stories – but not the regular children’s stories with princesses or supernatural stuff. I became obsessed with imagining real-life situations and acted like a movie director when playing with my toys. Some stories were sad, some were happy, some were a bit too dramatic for an eight-year-old girl. 

Since I didn’t have many dolls, I started chopping off my mother’s old magazines and cropped as many actors and actresses as I needed. They were so important to me and suddenly I didn’t feel the need to go out anymore – everything I wanted was already there.  

I think I have always had it in me – this passion for creating. But it was the loneliness in my childhood that made me discover it and never want to let it go. 

Although spending so much time with my own stories was remarkable for a child, neither me nor my family knew exactly how or if it will turn into a lifelong career. What’s more, during those times every student had to excel at every subject to be considered “a good kid” so I really had no time to think about what I really wanted to do. I was also passionate about singing and dancing – I even took some brief classes but since they weren’t on the main school subjects list, I wasn’t very motivated to go on.  

Still, I never stopped imagining – and soon I started writing. Between doing homework and crossword puzzles (which I still do in my spare time), I used to write journals, poems, and teen drama. 

My passion for art never really went away. When I turned 17 I decided to join a music production label and became an artist: singer and lyricist.  Soon I started studying Advertising at University of Bucharest – this was the moment when the small-town girl discovered an exciting new place to pour her passion into. 

I believe everything I did since my early childhood was meant to take me here – the way I have never given up on writing and creating in general made my craft better and improved my storytelling skills. 

Before starting out any creative process I must clean up my workspace because I simply cannot think straight in a cluttered room. Nice cups of coffee, scented candles and cute notebooks always help too. I also love working around people and feeling their energy – it makes me more motivated and productive. This is exactly why my creative process has suffered a little at the beginning of the pandemic. I am still struggling with working alone but I can handle it way better now. Whenever I feel overwhelmed, I grab my laptop and find a nice coffee shop to work from. 

My best advice to give clients who want to get the best of out teams and agencies is to give them enough time and space to create. For sure, sometimes a good idea can come fast – but the execution needs time to be perfect. I would also say treat them like your partners, not your employees. Make them feel it’s their brand too and trust their creative intuition – they usually feel everything with their souls, and this is what usually makes the numbers grow bigger.  

I think the best way an agency can keep the creativity level high is show Creatives their work is seen, appreciated, and important. Not in an exaggerated way, of course, but Creatives must feel their time matters. You can extend a deadline by a day? Do it. You can ask a Creative’s advice before implementing the feedback yourself? Please, do it! :) 

Creativity comes from within, it’s not like an algorithm so you can’t really force it – if a Creative won’t feel valued, his/her creativity drive and motivation in the company will decrease in time.

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Cheil Centrade, Thu, 28 Jul 2022 08:00:09 GMT