Ideas aren't for everyone

  • Voices
  • September 8, 2017
Ideas aren't for everyone
(Image credit: Minky Stapleton)

“Ideas are easy. It’s the execution that really separates the sheep from the goats.”
– Sue Grafton

Narratives that don’t make sense. If you have been in advertising for more than 10 minutes you will have seen this before.

Invariably, over time you find these narratives have far more to do with making or saving money than anything coming close to the truth. Look what was said five years ago about digital advertising and you will see what I mean.

Right now, there are two narratives floating around advertising that are diametrically opposed to each other.

The first one goes like this. Nothing is more important than creativity. It is our secret weapon. We need it. It is what separates us from the rest.

The other is creative should not be left up to the creatives. Ideas can come from anywhere. Anybody can come up with an idea. We should be open to everybody having ideas.

Now, I would agree that anybody can have an idea. Any creative director worth his salt will look at the idea, not where it came from. I also understand that a lot of these conversations come from dealing with how many puzzle pieces there are these days. And, how little time exists to make that pretty picture on the box.

However, when I look at these competing narratives I have some issues about the misconceptions many in our industry have about creatives and why they are so necessary. For me, these problems begin with two words. Creative and idea.

Creative is not a job description. It's a vague, undefined ability. I have told people I am a creative and they have responded by saying they are also creative; they love to cook or are quite keen on gardening.

So, what you often have is the erroneous thought by many in our industry that anybody can be a creative because the job description of being an advertising creative is undefined. This description also erodes the value of what we do. However, there is a far bigger problem.

The second word I mentioned is the word 'idea'. What is an idea? Seriously, think about it for a second. For those that aren’t sure I can put your mind at rest by telling you it is far more than a couple of words on a bloody post-it.

For many, the perception exists that having an idea is hard. The truth is that the hard part is actually caring about an idea. Everybody can have an idea but, selling, making and caring about an idea that leads to potentially hundreds of executions often over a couple of years needs a person with special qualities. That blend of talent and dedication is very hard to find.

Creatives are often described as rock stars but the truth is really great creatives are far more like shepherds. They are there when an idea is born. They try to keep it safe and moving in the right direction. They try and make sure it doesn’t die. To use a comparison from the other end of the job spectrum, I often think it feels similar to being an actor in LA going to auditions every day and being rejected for being too short, too tall, too fat, too boring and so on. Talent is important but so is toughness. It’s not for everyone.

The other tricky thing about ideas is that everybody thinks their own ideas are great. This is fine if you don’t have to make one. It can just be a nice theory. Nobody gets hurt. But, if you are actually making an idea which can often cost millions of dollars somebody has to be responsible for the end product. Who decides? And to be clear, if it is a committee or involves brainstorming you are already in deep shit. Somebody has to make a call. And not just one decision but hundreds of tiny unglamorous decisions.

Paul Klee once said that a line is a dot that went for a walk. It is one of my favourite quotes because it perfectly describes the difference between having an idea and the endless process of making an idea.

Many at the moment are making the mistake of thinking that having an idea is the same as making an idea. Whether it is the disaster of an event like the Fyre Festival in the Bahamas, the infamous Pepsi ad or the hundreds of ads that all look like each other because people have cut corners, we need to remember in the end it is the making that matters. This is why creatives matter, they make ideas real. They understand more than anybody that an idea means nothing if it isn’t made. It is what drives them. It is why they push further. It is why they are different. It is why they are valuable.

The truth is having an average idea is pretty painless and can be done by many. On the other hand, making a truly great idea needs a person or people that have a lot of courage, passion and a very high pain threshold.

Despite what some may think, it’s not for everyone.

  • Damon Stapleton is the chief creative officer at DDB.
  • This post first appeared on his blog, Damon's Brain.   

This is a community discussion forum. Comment is free but please respect our rules:

  1. Don’t be abusive or use sweary type words
  2. Don’t break the law: libel, slander and defamatory comments are forbidden
  3. Don’t resort to name-calling, mean-spiritedness, or slagging off
  4. Don’t pretend to be someone else.

If we find you doing these things, your comments will be edited without recourse and you may be asked to go away and reconsider your actions.
We respect the right to free speech and anonymous comments. Don’t abuse the privilege.

Māori media set for 'sector shift'

  • Media
  • October 17, 2018
  • Radio New Zealand
Māori media set for 'sector shift'

The Māori media sector is set to be reviewed for the first time since 1998. A policy initiative has been announced, titled "Māori Media Sector Shift", that will include Māori Television, the Māori radio network and Te Mangai Paho.

Read more
TVNZ-NZ Marketing Awards 2018 Supreme Award winner: AA
news

TVNZ-NZ Marketing Awards 2018 Supreme Award winner: AA

Most New Zealanders will have heard of AA. It’s a trusted, reliable brand and it’s been around a long time. But, with technological advancements threatening its business model, it knew it needed to diversify or die. We take a look at this year's TVNZ-NZ Marketing Awards Supreme Award winner.

From junk to jewellery: Design Junkies search for second crop of designers

  • Television
  • October 16, 2018
  • Idealog
From junk to jewellery: Design Junkies search for second crop of designers

Design and craft-based television show - Design Junkies - has been allocated its second lot of funding from TVNZ. The spend comes following a successful first series, produced by Warner Bros. NZ, which sees a diverse bunch of designers upcycle junk into coffee tables, photo shoot props, and various other installations. In light of the release, the show is currently on the hunt for the crop of next designers, makers and artists to feature on the next edition.

Read more

Social scoreboard

Zavy and StopPress have worked together to create a scoreboard that compares how the top 25 traditional media advertising spenders in New Zealand have performed on social media over the past 30 days, updated in real time.

topics
Follow The Money
Follow The Money
Follow the money. It’s an axiom that journalists have believed in for years and a ...
Regional Rundown
Regional Rundown
StopPress takes a trip down the country to see who the audiences and agencies are ...
Beyond the Page 2018
Beyond the Page 2018
In conjunction with the MPA, the Beyond the Page series shows how some of the ...
Insight Creative
Insight Creative
Insight Creative specialises in shaping business stories out the core insights that often lie under ...
Beneath the Surface
Beneath the Surface
In this series, brought to you by Microsoft, we talk to a conceptual photographer, illustrator ...
20/20 (tele)vision
20/20 (tele)vision
Media consumption is changing. But by how much?
The Hot List
The Hot List
Our rundown of the hottest shows, brands and creators in New Zealand media. 1. magazine ...
Cannes Lions 2017
Cannes Lions 2017
All the winners, the shortlists and the drama from this year's edition of advertising biggest ...
Merger Mania
Merger Mania
All our stories on the nation's two failed mergers in one place
Bauer Beyond the Page
Bauer Beyond the Page
When it comes to creating branded content, there are few better in the Kiwi market ...
The Indies
The Indies
Over the course of this series of articles, we look at how always-nimble indy agencies ...
AdRoll on automation
AdRoll on automation
Marketing automation is tipped to eventually become the only way advertising is traded in the ...
Game Changers
Game Changers
It’s all about PEOPLE. Join us as we discuss global insights, ideas and innovations from ...
TVNZ-NZ Marketing Awards 2015
TVNZ-NZ Marketing Awards 2015
Celebrating all the winners of the 2015 TVNZ-NZ Marketing Awards.
Future Tense
Future Tense
In a new series, StopPress talks to a range of newsmakers currently trying to shine ...
Beyond the Page
Beyond the Page
In conjunction with the MPA, the Beyond the Page series shows how some of the ...
Up Country
Up Country
In conjunction with News Works, the Up Country series talks with some of New Zealand's ...
Sounding off
Sounding off
As part of a content partnership with MediaWorks, we've asked a few of the company's ...
StopPress Podcasts
StopPress Podcasts
We sit down for a chat with industry leaders to find out what they're up ...

Whittaker's' Hannah Gray on working her way up in marketing

  • Marketing
  • October 16, 2018
  • StopPress Team
Whittaker's' Hannah Gray on working her way up in marketing

Whittaker's brand manager Hannah Gray knows the value of working her way up in the workplace. She started at the company in 2014 as the receptionist and four years on was one of this year's TVNZ-NZ Marketing 'Rookie Marketer of the Year' finalists. We chat with her about finding her feet in the industry.

Read more

Ads of the week: 16 October

  • TVC of the week
  • October 16, 2018
  • StopPress Team
Ads of the week: 16 October

A round of applause for Got A Trade, The Warehouse and Air New Zealand.

Read more
voices

ReachMedia secures The Warehouse Group's 'smart mailer' business

  • Advertising
  • October 16, 2018
  • StopPress Team
ReachMedia secures The Warehouse Group's 'smart mailer' business

The Warehouse Group has appointed data-driven letterbox marketing company ReachMedia to distribute mailers for the group's family of brands.

Read more

Got A Trade releases ad disguised as a music video

  • Advertising
  • October 16, 2018
  • StopPress Team
Got A Trade releases ad disguised as a music video

Got A Trade and Ogilvy NZ have created an interactive ad which looks like a music video with the aim of attracting young Kiwis into trades and services.

Read more
Are loyalty programmes really worth it?
Sponsored content

Are loyalty programmes really worth it?

As every retailer offering a loyalty programme knows, there’s no such thing as a free lunch. Truth Customer Academy shares how to consider the value exchange you’re really offering with your loyalty programme, and get the most out of your investment.

QMS NZ accelerates digital-first strategy with 19 new Auckland sites

  • Advertising
  • October 15, 2018
  • StopPress Team
QMS NZ accelerates digital-first strategy with 19 new Auckland sites

QMS NZ has announced an exclusive long-term strategic partnership with iSEE Digital, marking a significant step change in the New Zealand digital out-of-home landscape.

Read more

'Off with his head!': Pop-up Globe launches latest season

  • Advertising
  • October 12, 2018
  • StopPress Team
'Off with his head!': Pop-up Globe launches latest season

The Pop-up Globe has launched its latest season with a series of creative campaigns, the first touting Richard III as a serial killer.

Read more

Movings/Shakings: 12 October

  • Movings/Shakings, brought to you by Marsden Inch
  • October 12, 2018
  • StopPress Team
Movings/Shakings: 12 October

Industry happenings at Clemenger BBDO Wellington, Colenso BBDO, Ogilvy and Acquire.

Read more

Chur bro! The Warehouse launches a uniquely Kiwi Scrabble edition

  • Advertising
  • October 12, 2018
  • StopPress Team
Chur bro! The Warehouse launches a uniquely Kiwi Scrabble edition

The Warehouse has launched a 'Sweet As' campaign with familiar Kiwi legends for the new Scrabble edition, via DDB New Zealand.

Read more

Rufus Chuter and Kris Hadley launch new agency, Together

  • Agency
  • October 11, 2018
  • Caitlin Salter
Rufus Chuter and Kris Hadley launch new agency, Together

Former FCB Media managing director Rufus Chuter has joined forces with former OMD chief digital officer Kris Hadley to launch a new strategy, technology and media management agency, Together.

Read more
Streaming ahead – TVNZ OnDemand reaches record high
Sponsored content

Streaming ahead – TVNZ OnDemand reaches record high

TVNZ OnDemand has achieved a record 102 million streams in the last 12 months – the equivalent of every New Zealander streaming over 20 episodes of Shortland Street a year.*

The Warehouse Group's Michelle Anderson on the changing times

  • Marketing
  • October 10, 2018
  • StopPress Team
The Warehouse Group's Michelle Anderson on the changing times

The Warehouse Group's chief digital officer Michelle Anderson is an experienced marketer with years of experience on the group's different brands. As one of this year's TVNZ-NZ Marketing Awards 'Marketer of the Year' finalists, we spoke with her about how The Warehouse Group's approach to marketing has changed and the lessons learned along the way.

Read more
Next page
Results for
Topics
Jobs
About

StopPress provides essential industry news and intelligence, updated daily. And the digital newsletter delivers the latest news to your inbox twice a week — for free!

©2009–2018 ICG Media. All rights reserved.
Use of this site constitutes acceptance of our Privacy policy.

Advertise

Contact Vernene Medcalf at +64 21 628 200 to advertise in StopPress.

View Media Kit