HOPE IS NOT A STRAT­EGY

Times are chang­ing and the in­dus­try can­not re­sign it­self to fate. It must learn to be less pre­cious and speed up, writes Memac Ogilvy’s Paul Shearer

Campaign Middle East - - NEWS - Paul Shearer is chief cre­ative of­fi­cer at Memac Ogilvy

So, once again our in­dus­try is in a cat­a­strophic, end-of-the-world cy­cle of doom and de­spair. We are doooooooomed, as Fraser from Dad’s

Army would say. Clients who are un­der pres­sure are de­mand­ing it yes­ter­day, de­mand­ing it their way, more for less and, on top if this, we are close to pulling the plug on TV ads.

With this Ar­maged­don com­ing, you would think most peo­ple would be pre­par­ing for the worst.

The big­gest net­works have, and I am sure the rest are in the process.

All out they’re get­ting their brains in top gear and ready for the chang­ing world that’s bear­ing down on us. You’d think. Right? But there is also an ever-grow­ing band of peo­ple who seem to think that hop­ing every­thing will get back to nor­mal is the best strat­egy.

Hop­ing that the world of mar­ket­ing will sort it­self out. Calm down. Be like a gold­fish and for­get every­thing ev­ery few min­utes.

These peo­ple seem to be caught in the head­lights and are un­able to move. I have news for them. Hope is not a strat­egy. Hope is not even close to be­ing right. Not even the last re­sort.

Hope is some­thing that is best suited to those who fol­low foot­ball or play black­jack.

There’s a quote that goes some­thing like “Hope is an an­chor for the soul”. Cre­ative peo­ple don’t need an an­chor. Hope is for the in­de­ci­sive peo­ple. And be­lieve me we need more than ever to be de­ci­sive.

I am a cre­ative and so have only a per­sonal ob­ser­va­tion on what the busi­ness side of our in­dus­try should do.

But I do have a strat­egy that will work for cre­ative.

It’s my opin­ion, so not to be taken as any­thing else.

A sim­ple thought that will help us speed up and be fu­ture-fit: Be less pre­cious. Be­ing pre­cious is a lux­ury that cre­ative de­part­ments once en­joyed.

One that en­abled us to have weeks to craft and hone our ideas to per­fec­tion.

Gave us time to have nu­mer­ous meet­ings with di­rec­tors and pho­tog­ra­phers.

Let us sit on an idea. Let it evolve. Maybe de­cide we could do bet­ter and start again. Oh, the lux­ury that time once show­ered us with.

I know that one agency – which I won’t name – had its own blocked-off cre­ative depart­ment. Only cre­ative folk could ven­ture through its hal­lowed cor­ri­dors.

If a client ser­vice per­son was found there – even ac­ci­den­tally – he or she was shown to the first taxi, never to be seen again.

And if they ever dared ask “When will it be ready?” I wont tell you what would hap­pen. Well those days have gone. Pre­cious­ness is dead. The dodo of ad­ver­tis­ing. It’s time to start mov­ing fast-for­ward with quick think­ing and ag­ile minds.

Now, some would say – and I agree – that pre­cious peo­ple cre­ate amaz­ing things.

A Rem­brandt, a Riva speed­boat or a Faberge egg.

All cre­ated by pre­cious peo­ple. All undis­put­edly mas­ter­pieces.

But all have one thing in com­mon. They are from the days be­fore tech­nol­ogy. From a past where cre­ative peo­ple had time. Some had years. Sadly time is not an op­tion any more. It’s not our friend. Ev­ery brief we have has a tick­ing clock at­tached. But less pre­cious doesn’t mean less cre­ative. It doesn’t mean smaller ideas or bor­ing work. We must do what all good busi­nesses do: Train our peo­ple to work faster and be more ef­fi­cient.

Show them that time is not a de­cid­ing fac­tor when it comes to cre­ativ­ity.

Be­fore some bright spark came up with the no­tion of hours, min­utes and sec­onds we still man­aged to evolve. We made fire with­out need­ing to have time. How some­one de­cided that it should take X days to cre­ate an idea I don’t know.

All I do know is that as cre­ative types we can adapt to change and still pro­duce ideas that will in­spire, no mat­ter how tight the timetable.

Ideas that will con­nect with con­sumers the way we have al­ways done.

I have re­cently been spend­ing time with our so­cial team here at Ogilvy.

These guys cruise along at 3,000rpm and their ideas are pretty cool.

They don’t need days or hours. All they need is mo­ti­va­tion.

They don’t get that frus­trated about lack of time. They just act in ac­cor­dance with the dig­i­tal and so­cial world they live in.

With sup­port and ded­i­ca­tion their ideas can go from great to earth-shat­ter­ing.

And it won’t take more time or a week of craft­ing.

The old adage that a great idea can come in one sec­ond is strong in the so­cial world. So what’s the point of what I have to say? Things are chang­ing. And cre­ative de­part­ments must show the way for­ward. Adapt and change. Find new ways to be great. Don’t act like spoiled kids. Be ma­ture and ac­cept­ing. We need to re­think, re­learn and re­set our clocks. Where there’s a will there’s a way. As long as it’s fast.

All I do know is that as cre­ative types we can adapt to change and still pro­duce ideas that will in­spire, no mat­ter how tight the timetable.

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