16 Oct

Whatever Works

In the agencies that I worked in, I remember them being fairly rigid in enforcing the idea that creatives had to be at their desks – or in their glass booth – during ‘working hours’.

I have, however, heard of plenty of agencies that let their faithful copywriters and art directors go on a wander, if it helps them to crack a client brief.
This makes sense. A great idea is a great idea whether you come up with it at your desk or in a coffee shop.

This is why I like the freedom of freelance work.

I was handed a brief earlier this week – to come up with a creative concept for selling English language classes in Brazil.
The brief came with clear instructions as to what could and couldn’t be done:
It had to be a visual campaign (no/few words), the media channel was posters/billboards – so no frames, movement, or dialogue, unlike this beauty – it couldn’t have any English words in it as, obviously, the target audience (those looking for English classes) wouldn’t understand that.
I love restrictions like this though, it’s part of the challenge.

I knew, though, that the worst thing I could do was just sit still at a desk for hours, wrestling with it. So, what did I do?
I read the brief thoroughly, then went for a swim – which always clears my mind. After my swim, I went to an exhibition:  with the brief constantly running through my head, in the background.
To many people this might seem like procrastination – even lazy – but this method (if I can call it that) rarely fails to work for me.

Lo and behold, halfway through the exhibition, a solution hit me and I grabbed a pen and pad from my bag to feverishly scribble it down. By the time I’d finished at the exhibition I’d scribbled another good solution down too.

Once I got home, I filled out the detail of both ideas and came up with several executions for each campaign.

I’ve just sent my ideas to the client and she’s quite taken by one of them over the other.

The point to all this is just to find what works for you, in terms of coming up with perfect creative solution. If it means driving out to a pine forest and running with bears (maybe foxes, in Britain), so be it.
All the client cares about is that you came up with a great idea. I’m pretty sure they couldn’t give a damn what you were doing when you came up with it!

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