Monday, May 23, 2005

Tone it up

The most stifling voice against creativity can be your own. How many times have you censored yourself, talked yourself out of taking a risk, gone the safe way?

P.S. Remember, every time I say you, I mean me, too, probably loudest of all.

Hugh Macleod tells a wonderful story:

One fine day a Creative Director kindly agreed for me to come show him my portfolio. Hooray!

So I came to his office and showed him my work. My work was bloody awful. All of it.

Imagine the worst, cheesiest "I used to wash with Sudso but now I wash with Lemon-Fresh Rinso Extreme" vapid housewife crap. Only far worse than that.

The CD was a nice guy. You could tell he didn't think much of my work, though he was far too polite to blurt it out. Finally he quietly confessed that it wasn't doing much for him.

"Well, the target market are middle class houswives," I rambled. "They're quite conservative, so I thought I'd better tone it down..."

"You can tone it down once you've gotten the job and once the client comes after your ass with a red hot poker and tells you to tone it down," he laughed. "Till then, show me the toned-up version."

This story doesn't just happen in advertising. It happens everywhere.

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