Will doing be the undoing of craft?

  • Advertising
  • March 24, 2010
  • Michael Goldthorpe
Will doing be the undoing of craft?

So I’m 32, I’ve been an advertising creative for almost a decade and I’m beginning to feel old. Worse still, I’m running scared. It’s the ‘kids these days’. Seems like they can do anything.

Here’s the thing: in our agency, if there’s an opportunity to do something cool, the brief will go out to everyone. So we’ll take it away, have a think and come back with a bunch of different ways you could handle it.

In the same amount of time, our juniors will have had an idea, worked it up, cut a movie, launched a website, half-programmed an iPhone app – you name it, they can do it. It’s terrifying.

And we (the old people) sit back, admire their enthusiasm and sagely advise them on how to improve their craft.

It goes without saying that it’s all about idea. But once you’ve nailed that, let’s think for a minute about execution. My question is, how much does craft count, when done is already done?

I’m really lucky. Sitting where I sit, we have some of the very best crafting creatives on the planet. They can polish anything and make it beautiful. But it’s a process that takes time and costs money. We also have several of the most talented and enthusiastic juniors I’ve ever met. They go out and do [ed: for an ad that praises such 'doers' in typically awkward Rhys Darby fashion check this out and for an ad that's all about craft check this out].

Don’t get me wrong. I love a beautifully crafted ad like the next person. But how much more stuff does a crafted ad sell? I don’t know the answer, but I’m interested.

Thing is, in this post-recession advertising scramble with small budgets and smaller timelines, it’s harder and harder to craft like we want to. And when stuff can get done, cheaper and faster – albeit a little less shiny – it’s hard to argue the value of a few days tickling type.

I don’t know if there’s an answer. And it feels like heresy to even ask the question. But I’m beginning to wonder how long it will be before doing will be the death of craft.

That’s what I was thinking. What do you reckon?

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