About the young copywriters’ creativity in 2013.

Here are some extracts of an interesting post of Sanam Petri, associate creative director at R/GA London.
« Change in ad consumption is altering the way the industry trains itself

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tomake ads – which loses something fundamentalIt’s sometime last year, and I’m asked to hold a workshop for a group ofadvertising students in London. We start talking about the industry, about agency life, about what it means to create good work. I find that they’re asking a series ofstartlingly intelligent questions. In fact, their conversation betrays anexceptional knowledge of the industry. They have opinions on the strength of digital, the power of social, and know which big ideas are making an impact. I issue a brief from an old clientof ours, with lots of room to think creatively. I wait an hour and collect the responses. The aim of this exercise is to test the level of skill possessed by the writers in the room.

But when I read their responses, I’m surprised to findthat their copy doesn’t sound like it’s come from free-thinking young creatives.

It sounds like it’s come straight from my TV at home. « Do you ever wish you could [x]? Well, now you can! » « Why not pop in and try [x] today? » The writing is cliched and predictable, the actual quality of the writing is poor. And what’s worse, it reflects little passion or interest on the part of the writer. This isn’t the writing of writers. It’s the writing of advertisers. At my agency, like most agencies, the creative process is considered an end-to-end service. We come up with the idea, then execute it down to every last detail. That means the members of our creative department need to be in possession of both skill sets: the ability to dream up the revolutionary award-winning concept, then to scrutinise every line, spaceand comma that comes with it. But the balance in recent years has shifted. It used to be that young creatives learned craft first, then spent years gaining the experience necessary to think like a creative director.

When you ask most creatives in my generation how they found their way into advertising, the answer is generally the same: as kids, we found we had a talent for writing, drawing, or some other largely impractical skill, but no interest in starving.

Back then, advertising felt like an oasis;

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a place to write, draw, and have fun within the confines of a secure job. But because today’s advertising world is largely driven by accolades and awards, many communication schools are churning out kids who think like creative directors, not kids who just love to write. What happens to the young design genius who spends his work day designing rather than dreaming? The most successful creative agencies are the ones with the most diverse set of weird people. Musicians, craftsman, game designers, the passionate and the obsessive … these are the people we want filling our creative departments. People for whom « concepting » is a constant state of mind. Kids who grew upstudying comic books and albums sleeves, not award annuals. Ultimately, change is in our hands. If we prize craft above all else, we can continue to be proud of the quality of work we put out into the world. And if we focus on developing our young talent once they’re in, there’s no doubt they’ll shoulder in the next generation of great ideas, big and small.

1 comment

  1. hello virginie,

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