The art of the craft

12DCIs there anything more subjective than “good creative”? What is good creative? “I’ll know it when I see it,” is a common refrain heard to those of us who sell creative. “I love that” — “I hate that.” We all see and evaluate creative through our own personal filter.

When my father started the agency in 1964 it was the beginning of the creative revolution. And my Dad was at the center of it. He had a passion for the clean furniture design of Florence Knoll, and the seminal jazz music of the likes of Dave Brubeck and Miles Davis. But most of all, he revered in the brilliantly simple advertising work of Bill Bernbach.

“Advertising isn’t a science. It’s persuasion. And persuasion is an art.” Bill Bernbach


NolanDuffyWhiteIncCreatives like to talk about emotion. Did it make you think, make you feel or make you laugh? Account guys, like me, try to put metrics to creative. Is it on strategy? Will it bring revenue?

David Ogilvy famously said, “It’s not creative unless it sells.”

Interestingly my agency has done an exploration on creativity this holiday season, in the form of 12 short films featuring a variety of creative talent living and working in and around the Washington, DC area. It is a celebration of the craft.

So what is great creative? I absolutely believe in the art of the craft, that special combination of  consumer insight mixed with a dash of magic. I also think it is fun to see what other iconic leaders say about creativity.

“Curiosity about life in all of its aspects, I think, is still the secret of great creative people.” – Leo Burnett

“Creativity is just connecting things. When you ask creative people how they did something, they feel a little guilty because they didn’t really do it, they just saw something. It seemed obvious to them after a while.” – Steve Jobs

“Think left and think right and think low and think high. Oh, the thinks you can think up if only you try.” – Dr. Seuss

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