Friday, April 4, 2008

Brain gym time

I once heard of a Creative Director who insisted that all his writers read the New Yorker each week, so they could learn from its lucid, elegantly crafted prose.

I'm not sure that's how useful that is any more. Lucid, elegantly crafted prose is rarely called for. Even when it is, the entirety of the copy required is likely to be shorter than a single New Yorker sentence.

But aside from the fact that it's a great mag (along with The Economist, The New Yorker has done a brilliant job of crafting a brand that reflects only a tiny part of its reality. Both have a rep for containing highbrow, serious stuff about Important Issues; true (sometimes), but first and foremost they're just highly entertaining reads) I think there's still one reason for creatives to read the New Yorker: the Cartoon Competition.

The mental muscles it exercises are not too dissimilar to those required for crafting an ad, or even coming up with a concept. And if you're working in one of those situations where part of the ad is already locked in before you start work ("use a shot from our image library", "put the offer in the headline"), it's not too far from reality at all.

If I were a CD, I'd hold an agency-wide contest each week to come up with that week's caption (no submitting entries to the hoi polloi for judgement though - I'd decide the winner) .

Creatives are competitive bastards, I can't see them passing up the chance for a little aggrandisement.

Any CDs reading this are welcome to steal the idea for themselves. No charge (although a couple of weeks freelance wouldn't go amiss).

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