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How often do we pause and ponder about industry issues that have a bearing beyond just our rigmaroles? Share insights that can further the common understanding? Or, at the very least, point at things that need to be set right. View Point - an exchange4media platform, will fill this void and become a source of understanding, action and perhaps some inspiration.

Is creativity all about creatiwitty?


Surojit Sen, Creative Supervisor (Copy), Rediffusion DY&R, New Delhi

The first time I sniffed the air of an ad agency dates back to my good old days in B-school where I was doing a project on advertising. The agency happened to be Ogilvy. Good for me, because then, I didn’t know head or tail of advertising or where it can lead a maniac who suffers from the perennial disease of creativity. At Ogilvy that day, I liked the air primarily because I had braved the heat outside and walked into a superbly air-conditioned office! Despite the climatic relief, my heart did skip a few beats thinking that this was the place where the best overpowered the beasts (no, I'm not necessarily referring to clients!).

That was then. Today, I have graduated to be able to share with you some of my thoughts that by default forced me to take up advertising as a career. Thoughts that were in my subconscious all the while but never surfaced. Thoughts that drifted past without me getting to know. Thoughts that have shook me hard enough that now I sit up and keep my eyes and ears watchful, on guard, while my mind jogs on.

Thought#1: Is creativity all about creatiwitty?

Humour. We all know that this word will now be associated with advertising for a long time to come. Probably because it was cracked not long ago by the advertising fraternity. Or probably because the otherwise fretting Indian audience feels largely pepped up with humour in ads, and therefore, there are more chances of an ad acquiring mind space. Whatever be it, it's a formula which now everybody is trying hands on. I am not sure when exactly it started off, but today it has re-written many rules of script writing and story telling. Some ads are surely worth the effort. But most others feel like the sudden pelting of stones on a glass house. I choose not to list down examples in these two classifications because each one of us has a different list, I'm sure.

Thought#2: Should a creative person fully depend on the white-collared brief?

Obnoxious. I've heard this word from quite a few creative people. Mostly, when someone asserts an opinion on some creative work (obviously someone else's). Not that my vocabulary easily digests these kinds of words, but I tend to become generally interested in the cause of this usage. Digging more revealed that this particular creative person felt that justice had been denied to some brief. Probing further revealed that every creative person is said to have a notional understanding of the communication objective that invariably depends on the account management team for utmost clarity. Also, that the creative department depends largely on the account management to slog hard enough to create a smooth pedestal of understanding from where any creative person can take a leap. And what would measure the creativity? Of course, how far one can leap. In the end, what stuck in my mind following these kinds of encounters was another question: is creativity a game of leap-frog or do we creative people have some inherent voice as well?

Thought#3: What does the promise of 'identifying talent' mean in reality?

Scarcity. This word has surfaced quite often now in the talks of the big daddies of our advertising fraternity referring to the fresh creative talent available in India. But simultaneously they claim that there will be a time soon when global audiences would smile, cheer and perk up seeing ads made in India. May I add, even the global clients would get skewed to the genius of Indian creative professionals. Though it’s no joke, but coming from Indian creative stalwarts these few things mean 'life' for really passionate aspirants and freshers in the Indian advertising industry. So many times when I get calls from aspirants desperate to dig the creative ground, I remember my own days and try to cement their passion. But beyond that, sorry! Then I wonder, is this 'talent identification' so irrelevant that it's still being handled the 'unorganised' way -- through the theory of 'relative-ity', social contacts and the likes?

Final thought: What are 'you' doing in advertising?

Working. This word would certainly come out as the top answer in a poll for the above question. Not because there's no excitement in advertising, but probably because over a period of time, advertising becomes a business process and gets ruled by the balance sheet, which then flows down the management and interferes with the creative process. Ask a branch head, and the answer will be 'numbers are also important'. Ask a client servicing director, and the answer will be 'a client deserves the advertising he buys'. Ask a creative director, and the answer will be 'creativity is greatly mis-understood'. Everything seems to culminate into a single thing: advertising means different things to different people. It sure does mean something to you as well. So whatever be it, just make sure you contribute to it every day. By choice, or by chance.

 
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