An answer for Adam: What’s the future for creatives?

Adam Ferrier

Each fortnight, Adam Ferrier poses a question to the industry. This week, he asks about the future of the creative.

Who or what is a creative? It’s an old thought, but as I continue on my merry journey in advertising I wonder if there is a role for a ‘creative’ and if there is, what that role is?

In the world of film and TV there is not a ‘creative’. There is a director, a writer, a producer, a DOP and so on. From this mix the creativity happens.  But no-one is charged with being ‘the creative’. 

If I think about media agencies now surreptitiously trying to bring creative into their business (but only through the back door so as not to upset their holding company ‘creative agency’ kin), they don’t employ ‘creatives’ but they increasingly make ads, and other forms of content.

So let’s think about the ‘creative’. A role that asks of that person nothing except to come up with ideas that solve briefs. Sure they have to have a thick skin to endure loads of rejection, and be able to drink beer and play ping pong, so as to fit in with the other creatives, but apart from these skills, their job is as simple and difficult as generating ideas that solve briefs.

I’m wondering if this is an outsourcing of a skill set that many people have, if given the chance. Perhaps agency models need to truly embrace the idea that the idea can come from anywhere – and not have a separate ‘creative’ department. Perhaps the financial model of paying for ‘creatives’ will break down as people realise that suits, production, planners and administration can have ideas too. Or alternatively, perhaps to mis-quote Orwell: “We are all created creative, it’s just that some of us are more creative than the rest.”

Perhaps there is a roll for the creative and the creative director to be the leader of all things creative, and that they have special ideas (powers) the rest of us don’t. I don’t know.

Is the day of the creative just being a creative numbered?

Adam Ferrier is a consumer psychologist and the founder of Naked Communications. 

Encore issue 13

This story first appeared in the weekly edition of Encore available for iPad and Android tablets. Visit encore.com.au for a preview of the app or click below to download.


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