Monday, May 14, 2018

vs. Creatives.

A friend wrote to me the other day.

"George, they finally hit my agency with yet another process that's supposed to 'change everything.' Here's my two cents on what's going on now:

"People who aren’t creative fundamentally don’t trust people who are.

"They come to our offices and see us throwing pencils into the dropped ceiling. Or seeing how many times we can spin our swivel chairs around. Or they’re troubled because we dress funny, make jokes in serious meetings, or show up for work at 10:47 unshaven.

"Since we make the “product” they are relying on to make them wealthy, our behaviors worry them to no end.

"How can we trust our livelihood to a bunch of irresponsible children, they seem to think.

"During World War II, when Robert Oppenheimer was assembling the creative forces of the world’s most brilliant non-Nazi physicists to build the most powerful weapon ever assembled, they put an Army general, Leslie Groves, in charge of him because ‘why trust creatives?

"In Hollywood, writers and directors often fall under the producer’s lash. (Billy Wilder, who won seven Oscars once described an ‘associate producer as the only one who would associate with a producer.’)

"In advertising today it seems there are more people and more processes to manage creatives than there are creatives.

"We are scrummed, and stand up-meeting’d, and Trello’ed and Slacked and Agile’d to within an inch of our lives.

"In fact, George, if I had to invent a process to impose upon creative people, I think I’d call it Soul Sucking. It might not bring order and mitigate chaos. It might not get the creative trains to run on time. But at least it has the benefit of being honest.

"Another way non-creative people are trying to bludgeon creative people into control is the use of data and analytics. The non-creatives believe they can do this essentially by turning creativity (which is by definition messy) into an ‘if/then’ proposition.

"That is, if you write a strong call to action, then x y and z will necessarily occur. No one ever questions the legitimacy of analytics. But when something doesn’t work even after following ‘code-analytica,’ what happens then? No one says ‘analytics is a crock of shit.’ They say ‘we have to continue to optimize.’ 

"I bet there are hundreds of companies who have optimized themselves right into bankruptcy.

"Somehow it all reminds me, and I'm not sure why, of another line by Billy Wilder, ‘He’s got Van Gogh’s ear for music.’"

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