Creativity is ________?
In the continuity of Aline Massouh’s blog post, published here yesterday, on the definition of advertising in the post-Mad Men era, the question of whether the industry is dead or not can be analyzed from another angle. What do the creatives - the individuals who give the industry its bread and butter - think of its position?
During last year’s Creative Week, the "Creative Renegades" panel came to an end on a very hot topic: Are creative departments killing creativity? Are they stifling the ingenious potential of talented artists? Colleen DeCourcy, formerly from social media design firm Socialistic, surely thought so and went as far as saying "creative departments are shit", as reported in Gawker by Hamilton Nolan. In his blog post, Creative Destruction: how advertising is swallowing the creative class, Nolan reports (and comments!) on the motives of creatives who, sick of the routinized structure and lack of agility of large agencies, fled to embrace and explore their creativity on their own terms.
Beyond the condescending gaze of the author on the imposingly lucrative advertising industry and its stereotyped creatives – with their conference-approved quotes –, he does raise a point when questioning whether the mighty machine is denaturalizing the very essence of creativity. Are big corporations and agencies not just playing the cool card by hiring hipster yet naïve artists on shady contracts (read: cheap labour) in order to justify their keynotes at a conference on creative best practices?
In another article on the Drum, Patrick Collister of Google leans in the same direction, but points the finger at media agencies. "What they are doing is simply finding more beguiling ways of selling what they have always sold. Numbers. They talk about ‘ideas’ and ‘storytelling', but actually, they are killing creativity."
These questions on the nature of creativity and how it can or cannot be nurtured in a business environment is legitimate at a time where content – and ever more so highly creative and engaging content – is fundamental to capturing and retaining customers. As of now, the debate is still open. This said, it will be interesting to see, if the discussion comes up during this year's Advertising Week, what the opinions are this time around.
f. & co is attending Advertising Week in New York as social reporters for the Association des agences de publicité du Québec (AAPQ) and as part of the montréal.ad delegation. Follow our meanderings and trendspotting on Twitter at #RDVAdWeek and #AWX. Find all AdWeek-related posts on blog,fandco.ca here.
Cover photo drawing: "Creatividad" by Andrés Lamus, industrial design student at Universidad Industrial de Santander, taken August 22nd 2013 by Louis-Félix Binette in Bucaramanga, Colombia.