July 11, 2016

Revenge Of The Philistines

"The snottiness of believing that creativity just resides in the creative department of traditional agencies, that media people can't be creative, or data people can't be or people who do healthcare or promotion or CRM can't be creative – it's a nonsense and it's insulting to the people who are in those areas." -- Martin Sorrell in WARC
There is no one who has ever made more money from the advertising business than Martin Sorrell.

There is no one who has ever had more influence on the advertising business than Martin Sorrell.

And there is no one who has ever done more damage to the advertising business than Martin Sorrell.

Martin Sorrell is to advertising what McDonald's is to food. He demonstrates no appreciation for the art, quality or grace of it. His only interest is in making it lay more golden egg mcmuffins.

You can see his subtle duplicity in the quote above. He pretends that because we call a certain department the "creative department" that we are disdainful or unappreciative of contributions from others. This is utter bulllshit.

In the advertising business the word creative has two meanings.

First, is its usual meaning -- imaginative.

Second, is the meaning that is specific to advertising, as in "the creative department." This means the department that makes the ads.

Sorrell pretends he doesn't know this. He pretends he doesn't know that in ad language "creative department" means the department that makes the ads. It does not mean the only place where creativity resides.

He pretends that in the ad business the people in the creative department think they have a monopoly on creative thinking. Pure trash.

Every endeavor can be improved by creative thinking. Creativity is a way of thinking, not a department.

As a teenager I looked for ways to be more creative in the way I placed plastic bags over mens' suits in my dad's dry cleaning store. And, believe me, the dry cleaning store did not have a creative department. 

But this does not mean that there is not a special meaning for the word "creativity "that is specific to the communication arts. This is the kind of creativity that makes music and art and literature and, yes, sometimes even advertising extraordinary and delightful.

Sure, the guy who printed the tickets to Hamlet, or sold the popcorn, or counted the proceeds may have found creative ways to do so. But he didn't write the fucking play.

To believe that doing a practical job in a creative manner, and creating something brilliantly unique from scratch are the same thing because they happen to share the word "creative" is the willful dissembling of someone with an axe to grind.

Creativity is a word that Sorrell and his ilk are trying very hard to dilute into meaninglessness. It doesn't fit into a world where the new gods of data and metrics are ascendant.

Before the accountants and their new gods can take their throne, the old god of "creativity" must first be pulverized and sprinkled lightly over everyone. 

This is just the crude posturing of an overfed philistine who has no respect for the talented people that are fleeing the industry he is single-handedly ruining.

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