The masks were everything, of course. They are still. Without the masks the music wouldn’t exist. They provided a vehicle for years of restless, relentless creativity. Anyone who does creative work knows this to be true: that lots of the time you just need a really good way to get out of the way. Ever stuck? Try out a persona. They let you express an idea differently.”
Source: James Craig
If only we got out of our own way more often.
What Keynes wrote in 1936 about economics is just as true of advertising: “So-called practical men, who have never knowingly been exposed to an intellectual influence in their lives, are invariably the slaves of some defunct economist”… It’s only by understanding the historical roots of the assumptions we make about advertising that we can begin to free ourselves from being Keynesian ‘slaves’ to those assumptions. It’s only when we realise that none of these theories, models or metaphors represents absolute truth, but is one of many ‘ways of seeing’… that we can make use of any of them as a source of inspiration rather than be confined by it.
Paul Feldwick, The Anatomy of Humbug: How To Think Differently About Advertising
The challenge to effective, sustainable, and profitable marketing that our age of immediacy poses was the theme I addressed at this year’s Transition conference.
Curated and hosted by Peroclate, the conference turned out to be fascinating, and occasionally downright melting of the mind.
Rather than circle the drain of marketing’s fashionable obsessions, it was more about how the world is changing – and how our understanding of it is changing.
With just enough of a pragmatic thread back to our day jobs as marketers.
It certainly made all those keynote presentations at Cannes look like just so many empty calories.
If they continue to curate this thing carefully, I could see Transition taking on an awesome life of its own.
So if you get the opportunity to participate, I’d encourage you to do so.
Here’s a roundup of the talks.
And here’s a link to the slightly longer version of my talk, with the slightly snarkier title.
My thanks to @heyitsnoah and @James_Gross for a properly mind-expanding experience.
Of course, there’s really no such thing as “the original”… there isn’t much point looking for originators and copyists… Thanks to the internet we’ve finally got the evidence of all that benign larceny at our fingertips.”
Fresh from an interesting conversation with a candidate, and our discussion around the necessity of collaboration between strategy and creative, I stumbled across the words of the poet Alison Hawthorne Deming:
In ecology the term “edge effect” refers to a place where a habitat is changing–where a marsh turns into a pond or a forest turns into a field. These places tend to be rich in life forms and survival strategies. We are animals that create mental habitats, such as poetry and science, national and ethnic identity. Each of us lives in several places other than our geographic locale, several life communities, at once. Each of us feels both the abrasion and the enticement of the edges where we meet other habitats and see ourselves in counterpoint to what we have failed to see. What I am calling for is an ecology of culture in which we look for and foster our relatedness across disciplinary lines without forgetting our differences. Maybe if more of us could find ways to practice this kind of ecology we would feel a little less fragmented, a little less harried and uncertain about the efficacy of our respective trades and a little more whole.
‘Poetry and Science: A View from the Divide’
They illuminated a truth for me – one that the cheap and easy talk of ‘collaboration’ obscures.
It is self-evident that we need specialist disciplines.
But if we find ourselves working in an environment in which the specialisms do not overlap, in which they are doing entirely different jobs, in which they do not speak a common language, in which they do not understand each others’ contribution, and in which there is no edge effect but merely a gaping chasm, then something is seriously, badly wrong.
Deming cites the mathematician Alfred North Whitehead, who in 1925 warned of the risks that came with increasing scientific and technological refinements:
The specialized functions of the community are performed better and more progressively, but the generalized direction lacks vision. The progressivism in detail only adds to the danger produced by the feebleness of coordination … in whatever sense you construe the meaning of community … a nation, a city, a district, an institution, a family or even an individual … The whole is lost in one of its aspects.”
Planning, account management, copywriting, art direction, interactive, design, production… whatever our specialism, and whatever new specialisms we might add, we work in the service of a greater whole.
The creation of value through the building of brands through the power of ideas.
That shared purpose demands that we feel and experience our relatedness to one another.
And it demands that rather than stick within our respective habitats, we go out to live and operate where the edge effect happens. Where our respective habitats merge and become the other.
Which is why I’m glad to say, we expect creatives to get involved in the strategic process, and expect planners to get involved in the creative process.
And it’s why we are looking for planners* who can thrive in and nurture the edge effect.
* 5-10 years’ planning experience – able to engage senior clients in discussions about the things that matter to them, bring both structure and inspiration to the table, play a decisive role in the development of creative solutions, have a proven ability to help develop world-class creative solutions, preferably have experience developing global or multi-market work, be able to work well with internal and external specialist disciplines, be excited at the prospect of a life in Amsterdam… and nice to be around.
If that sounds like you, e-mail email@example.com