Trends and Insight in association withSynapse Virtual Production

Damon Stapleton: Creativity - The Answer to Every Question on TV

Advertising Agency
Auckland, New Zealand
In the face of a pandemic, the world needs creativity, writes DDB NZ's Damon Stapleton

“Everybody has a plan until they get punched in the mouth.” – Mike Tyson

Day 10. I am in lockdown and I have been eating a shit load of Pringles and watching a fair amount of television. As I watched, I noticed this weird phenomenon. Whenever an expert was interviewed about face masks, or how to make more ventilators, keep social distancing and all the other questions that get asked repeatedly every single fucking day, there would be a moment in the interview. The moment was when they were asked what should be done to make things better.

Invariably, almost none of them had an actual answer. You know what they all said? Ready for the phrase?

We need to get creative.

Do me a favour. After reading this, go and watch CNN for an hour. Now, every time an expert uses the word creative in an interview about COVID-19, have a Pringle. You are about to get very fat.

These are experts in all sorts of different fields with years of experience and degrees coming out of their ears. Yet, they all keep saying the same thing when pushed for an answer. We just need some creativity.

A week ago, I wrote a blog about how creativity keeps us human in the middle of this tragedy. I wrote about the human spirit. I said creativity is about defiance. It is about fun in the face of adversity. An Italian man singing opera for no reason on his balcony creates joy and makes life worth living in the most difficult of circumstances. Creativity can make something out of nothing.

Think about that for a second. What else can do that?

According to the endless cavalcade of pundits on CNN, nothing.

What a strange thing creativity is.

On the one hand, creativity is all that extra stuff. Singing from the balcony and making puppet shows out of old socks. It’s all about smiling and fun. It’s not serious. It just adds a bit of sunlight to our monochromatic lives.

On the other hand, it is the last thing you turn to in the most dire of situations. Like, you know, when there is a global pandemic. When you have run out of all your answers, you turn to creativity. Why?

Because, creativity can change the rules. It is real magic. It is alchemy that works.

We seem to only see creativity through two prisms. The first is when you have nothing to lose. There is no risk. It is just a bit of fun that makes life worth living. The second is when there is so much to lose you have no choice. It is your last chance saloon. It becomes a serious business that saves the living, so they can have a life. A paradox where something that is frivolous is also momentous.

We make creativity only an option when there is no risk or too much risk to bare. I think the world needs creativity far more often than that. It can do so much more than we think it can. Creativity can make something out of nothing. It can solve impossible problems. Something with that kind of power shouldn’t be our last resort. It should be our first option.

And don’t just take my word for it. Listen to those experts on TV.

Photo by Burak K on