It’s good to be a weird fish

Give credit to those swim­ming against the tide in our in­dus­try – they are the peo­ple most likely to spot break­through ways of do­ing things

Campaign UK - - PROMOTION - YAN EL­LIOTT Joint ex­ec­u­tive cre­ative di­rec­tor, CHI & Part­ners @theyan­i­mal

Not so long ago, we were en­joy­ing the spec­ta­cle of Glas­ton­bury. Ra­dio­head’s clas­sic Creep al­ways strikes a chord, but this time it was their song Weird Fishes that re­ally got me think­ing. It got me think­ing about how im­por­tant it is – not just in our so­ci­ety but par­tic­u­larly in our in­dus­try – to have weird fishes.

To be clear, I am not just talk­ing about cre­atives here. I’m talk­ing about any­one who might feel a lit­tle like an out­sider now and again, any­one who feels they haven’t been told the whole story, or sim­ply those who think there may be a bet­ter way.

The rea­sons are ob­vi­ous, but it’s prob­a­bly worth tak­ing a mo­ment to re­mind our­selves why we need th­ese weird fishes.

It’s the weird fishes that make the dif­fer­ence. The odd­balls who stop our pond from get­ting stag­nant.

They’re the ones who don’t have a “job”; they have a pas­sion to put good, in­ter­est­ing, funny, thought­pro­vok­ing ideas into the world.

They be­lieve that the world can be an awe­some, amaz­ing, bril­liant place but strug­gle with the fact that it can’t be like that ev­ery day.

They don’t just get through the day. They try to make it the day when they made a break­through, the day they broke the idea bar­rier.

It’s for that rea­son that, on their way home, they still haven’t “left” the of­fice – they’ll still be writ­ing down or sketch­ing out an idea be­cause it just might turn into some­thing.

The weird thing about weird fishes is that they think while they are not think­ing about things.

When they put an idea on to paper, into the room, on to the ta­ble, they are plac­ing a piece of them­selves out there. An idea that has come from the heart. And af­ter a lot of in­ter­nal scru­ti­n­is­ing, they deem it worth the risk to share with oth­ers. They put them­selves out there for all to judge. In the hope that some­one will say “I like it” or, bet­ter still, “I love it”.

Which would ex­plain why weird fishes all of a sud­den ap­pear to be in a bril­liant mood. It’s be­cause they’ve made a break­through; they’ve cracked it.

All the days of swim­ming around with their gills all heavy at the thought of what to do – it’s gone, lifted, in a mo­men­tary ex­plo­sion of ela­tion. Christ, they can now ac­tu­ally do other things in their life… like pay that bill or go to the ac­tual op­ti­cians to look for ac­tual new glasses. Hal­lelu­jah.

So what­ever part of the cre­ative in­dus­try you’re in, let us re­mem­ber to cel­e­brate the weird fishes, not dis­miss them. Don’t sec­ond-guess that the client may not like them. And don’t think for a sec­ond that the client might not want to meet them. Be­cause if you do, all that hap­pens is the weird fish goes to the dark­est place in the pond and hides un­der a soggy brown wa­ter­logged leaf – or, worse, a manky old Ga­torade bot­tle – and will only come out again when they think it’s safe. Some, sadly, never come back out.

And to all the weird fishes, don’t for a sec­ond think you’re too weird – you are needed, you are loved.

You are, in fact, es­sen­tial. To this day, I have never met a client who doesn’t love a bright, dif­fer­ent point of view in the room. You are not there to over­crowd the pond, you are there to make yours the best pond ever. You alone have the abil­ity to make our pond great.

And if I could lean on one of the great mod­ern-day philoso­phers of our time for a sec­ond – I be­lieve it was Paris Hil­ton who said: “I don’t like par­ties past 2am. Then it’s all losers and weirdos.”

In­deed, Paris, but you could also ar­gue that’s when it gets in­ter­est­ing…

“I have never met a client who doesn’t love a bright, dif­fer­ent point of view in the room. You are not there to over­crowd the pond, you are there to make yours the best pond ever”

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