Monday, April 2, 2007

Together Everyone Achieves More?

My AD's been away a bit recently, so I've ended up working with a few freelancers.

Although I couldn't say I've really "clicked" with any of them, it's been an interesting experience and it's got me thinking about exactly what the role of the creative department is.

My partner and I, and most of the other teams here, are very "clean" thinkers. If (and it's a big if) we agree that the SMP is right, we'll rarely present work that deviates from it. We constantly ask ourselves "is this persuasive?", "is it compelling?" as well as "is this novel?" and "is this interesting?"

A couple of the guys I've been working with are much looser/ less precise in their thinking. Their only yardstick is whether it's creative and/or interesting. It doesn't really matter to them whether the work makes a convincing case.

And maybe that's alright. Maybe it's a good thing.

Although they come up with a lot of ideas I would consider irrelevant, they also come up with a couple I wouldn't have thought of.

Yes, on the face of it it seems to make sense that everybody on a job ought to be pulling in the same direction. But there are perils in that approach. It's how you get group think, how dodgy reasoning becomes dogma.

It's how you end up internalising the client's rules and a priori assumptions.

So maybe it makes more sense if we concieve of different departments as working adversarially, or at least as working to achieve different goals.

So our job is to make things interesting, planning checks if they're effective, account service makes sure they're practical. The tension between those different concerns produces the best result.

I'm not sure what I think.

On one hand, my gut feeling is that anything that stops self censorship and removes creative fetters must be good.

On the other, I quite enjoy the "strategic" side of the job. The thought of abdicating it makes me feel a little more like the "monkey at a typewriter" - a random idea generator.

I'd be very interested to hear other people's thoughts on this.


Anonymous said...

If the idea's good enough, everyone will just pretend it's on strategy.

mudskippah said...

Aristotle said the truth is in the middle, or something like that according to those who know these things. I think it helps to totally free the head and let it go where there are no guidelines to restrict it, and if the results work to meet the objective set, great. If they don't, too bad. If the creative work is off strategy but still on target, then strategy can change. If the creative work is off target, no matter how cool it looks, I think it's a waste. In the space between a wide open creative horizon and the solid realities of the market lies the answer. At least that's how I see it.