Saturday, June 25, 2011

Why ad people sound stupid and Edward de Bono can´t do the Dirt Devil film

It turns out the best, most appreciated seminars here at Cannes Lion 2011 have been those when non-industry people present. Malcolm Gladwell, Sir Ken Robinson and Edward De Bono got standing ovations; we listened carefully to Patti Smith and Robert Redford; we curiously tapped into the world of a wedding planner and an erotic film maker. But when agencies tried to analyse their own work environment it fell flat.
I don´t think that is a bad thing. Perhaps creatives should put their energy on being creative and do brilliant ad campaigns, and let the authors and philosophers do the talking. Each to their own. I don´t think Edward de Bono would have been able to come up with the Old Spice films or the Dirt Devil ad, just as the ad people from Crispin Porter + Bogusky can´t wow us with their thinking as de Bono can. As Gladwell spoke about in his lovely speech, great outcomes have several causes.
Gladwell´s point was that the inventor very rarely is the one who makes the invention used. To go to market, you need the clever entrepreneurish “tweaker” who realise the potential of the innovation and can improve it to user friendliness. Then you need another person who can take actions and make sure the bright idea becomes reality.
One optimist, one pessimist, one who just goes for it.
One soul, one heart, one brain.
One inspirer, one creative, one account director.
At first I was disappointed by the poor agency presentations; they were often unprepared, naive and without a plain. But then I realised Gladwell was right. The mistake was to put people who create on stage to inspire. Their clever work should inspire us – since it is inspired by the great thinkers – but their words are useless.
Each to their own.
The learning is perhaps that the creative industry needs philosophers, artists and wedding planners to raise their thinking on a regular basis – not just during a week a year, far away from the office. Adland should not come up with their strategy models and methods within their own group, but open the doors for those who inspire to collaborate and bring spice and integrity.
There are of course people in the industry who do this, but the more of us who read psychology books, editorials about world politics and who goes to theatre and travel overseas, the better. I know the advertising industry is constantly stressed by pitches and briefs and work, and it is easy to avoid those extras and to employ those moulded in the same pot, who can be up and running in the traditional models in a sec. But it will save you time in the long run to do differently.
Just as every plant needs sun, water and nutrition for healthy growth, so does creative work. Do you have green fingers? 

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