When Do Creative People Give Up?

Alex Bogusky said that to be a creative director, you must be crazy – insane-like crazy. I agree. Why on earth would you want to take on the pressures, paranoia and sociopathy of an entire team of creatives? And yet we do. We embrace them. Encourage them. Occasionally heckle, provoke and hopefully inspire them. And we never give up. Ever. Not for a coupon ad. Not for a retail price point ad. Not for a service, packaged good or TV listing ad. Then why is it we creative directors find ourselves in the very uncreative position of managing the middle? On the one side you have your corporate masters … and on the other, those fresh young faces, looking to you – that’s right, YOU mate, to lead, inspire and guide them. I really do believe that a great creative idea is the tennis ball we dogs 61V06XTNQSL._SL500_AA280_chase. It’s a part of our DNA. It’s what we do. It’s what gets ME out of bed in the mornings. I believe with all my heart that great creative breaks through. It gets noticed. It sells. And … it makes careers in any industry that relies on great work to spread the word. And yet, as a creative director, I’m surrounded by people who don’t care. People who just want to make deadline. People who think a literal approach IS great creative. Don’t get me wrong – these are nice, well-meaning people. But they are too busy counting the support points and worrying about what the client is going to say. Or which concept provides an easy route towards a fast approval to really care about a big idea. As far as they’re concerned, all that creative rubbish is getting in the way of their next promotion. And that’s too bad. But it’s my job to manage the middle. That nasty place between the creative solution and the sold ad. It’s a place that can best be described as Soul Destroying, population: 1. Every day, as a creative director you have to fight the good fight. You stick up for those innocent, unformed ideas that one day just might grow up to be something great. You do battle against the ignorant. Cross swords with the idea killers. But you know that you’re not going to win every battle, and you can’t possibly fall on your sword over every idea. And those ideas that you lose … are painful. And sad. And soul destroying. And like Bogusky said – you have to be insane to do this job. To fight the good fight every day. To continue to believe in great ideas – to believe in the very goodness and rightness of them. And to never give up. No matter what. Because great creative directors are great because they’re stubborn. They don’t give an inch. They say that even a coupon ad has to be great – it has to be like no other coupon on the world has ever seen. Or maybe they’re just great politicians. Or great salespeople. And they tell us what we want to hear. Maybe there is no secret ingredient … just like Po finds out at the end of Kung Fu Panda. Maybe there’s just you, doing the best you can … avoiding the landmines, celebrating the ones that get past the goalie.


About Jill Atkinson

From concepts and smart headlines to original content and transmedia storytelling, to television pitch materials, directors treatments, long format writing, blogs and web copy with SEO, I write it all. I'm a writer, copywriter, and a content writer. My job is to help you say it better with ideas and language that get noticed. With copy and content that engages customers and audiences and ideas that make a connection with them. Ideas that generate a response. Materials that can sell a pitch. When you work with me you're working with the big boys: Maclaren, BBDO, Taxi, Sharpe Blackmore and also a great bunch of mid-sized agencies, b2b shops, a national television network (CBC), 15 specialty channels (History Channel, National Geographic, Showcase, Action, IFC, BBC Canada, + many more) and start ups who have taught me everything I know about how to get you noticed, remembered and sold. Or clicked. Or talked about. There are lots of ways to try to sell your products or to sell people on your offer or to engage them in your content and your show. But there is only one way to get it done right and on strategy. My experience is a foot in the door for your brand or your television idea . And no matter the size of your project, my commitment and attention to detail remain the same, big or small and always on deadline. Great conversations have to start somewhere. Give me a call or shoot me an email zookeepersboot@sympatico.ca Check out my work at http://jillatkinson.com
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3 Responses to When Do Creative People Give Up?

  1. Amity Luna says:

    Thanks for putting together When Do Creative People Give Up? Adlib I am enjoying your posts. Would you consider a guest post? You can see my post style at http://timwicks.com.au and certainly I would be interested in having you post an article or two on my blog, what do you think?

    • jillatkinson says:

      Hi Tim

      Thanks for your feedback – it’s always appreciated and I’m glad you’ve enjoyed some of my blog articles. I’m certainly open to guest posts on your blog – I had a look and found it to be full of great content. Let me know if you’d like to proceed – and what you’d like posted.
      Cheers and Happy New Year.
      Jill from Adlib Blog

  2. Thank you for the great content. I am glad I have taken the time to see this.

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