What people say when I tell them I’m a Creative (and what I’ve learnt from it)

A few weeks ago I was sitting in the back seat of my friend’s car, making the hour long drive out to one of the local beaches, and sitting beside one of my mate’s friends who I had never met before. So in classic small talk style, she inevitably asked “So what do you do?”

Whenever this question pops up, I usually ramble my way through some quasi-explanation (usually something along the lines of “I come up with ideas for ads and things and do writey stuff for things…and stuff”), but I’ve been noticing recently that I tend to get the same responses to my longwinded and poorly formed reply. So here’s a bit of a run down of what I’ve heard and what I’ve learnt:

“You know what ad I love?”

What I learnt: People actually care (sometimes).

Almost everyone has one current ad they love. In fact a lot of the time I can’t get them to shut up about it. That’s a pretty big reward for creating a memorable and likable ad, and with consumers being smarter about ads than ever before, our challenge is to make the ads that these people love, not just in isolation, but when put up against the thousands of other ads on their radar everyday.

“What ads have you done that I would know?”

What I learnt: I don’t actually spend a lot of my time making ads.

Between pitching, writing, adapting existing stuff, internal communications projects, niche market work, overseas targeted stuff and other random tasks that keep the agency ticking along, I don’t have a huge amount of work that the average Joe would know. But if you want to check out some great eDM copy I’ve got you covered.

“I couldn’t do that. I’m not creative.”

What I learnt: People think creativity is just for ‘Creatives’

Creativity is for the many, not the select few. And with advertising being one of the most collaborative industries, it’s up to everyone to consider facets outside our wheelhouse. Just as, as a Creative, I need to keep budgets and ROI in mind (not my strong suit), others in the process need to keep creativity in mind in order to achieve the goal we’re all working towards. And for those who think they’re not ‘creative’, then that’s the perfect reason to do a bit of homework, that’s how I became creative.

“That is so cool!”

What I learnt: People still love advertising

As someone who works in advertising, it often feels like you’re the bad guy. A lot of the time advertising’s portrayed as an unwanted intrusion into everyday life that nobody wants and everybody hates. So why do I get such a positive reaction from so many people? I think it really boils down to the fact that people can love ads so much they share it on social media and talk about it around the water cooler, or loathe ads so much that they do the same thing in a more negative fashion. By forcing ourselves into the lives of consumers we’re eliciting a reaction from them, that reaction is based on the ability of that ad to be lovable while doing its job well. Plus, most of the time the good is more memorable than the bad.

“Oh like Mad Men!”


Author: Simon Wharton (Writer)