Nov 27, 2007

5 things you should never ask a creative

Though some people would make a case that there is a plethora of things you should never say to a creative because our egos are so sensitive, there are a few questions which when uttered are almost begging to be answered by some physical expression of good ol’ fisticuffs. If you’re wondering what some of these might be, take this short list and if you’re daring, try out some of them to see if you won’t see a creative clenching his jaw hard enough to explode his molars and offer you a dance down at the parking lot.

Number 5 on the list. Can you do this little change for me?

Yes we can. We really can. The thing is that what ensues 90% of the time is that you come back with seven more little changes that wouldn’t mean dick except you need us to do the jpegs again. Also, there needs to be one thing to make exceptionally clear. This change is for you, not for the client. Why do I clarify this point? Simple. It has been way too often when an exec that “has the pulse of their client and know what they want” recommends something that is exactly what they didn’t want to see but then we get the pleasure of giving you the “I told you so” look while you agree with the client and tell them how you see their point of view and how they're right yet again further lowering our regard for you.

#4. Are you sure that word is right?

No. I took 4-6 years of college, have worked in advertising for a couple of years and actually passed the ninth grade but I’m not sure if that word is right. If by right you want to see if I’ll offer you synonyms for a word that has nothing wrong with it, then I can offer you one option, let me do my job while you thumb your asshole rather than a thesaurus.

NĂºmero 3. Don’t you think this artwork is a little dull?

Don’t you think your brief was a sack of shit and the 6 hour deadline a bit unrealistic? We sure as hell do and you get as good as you give sonny. Want more pizzazz with your artwork then get a bedazzler and get cracking sunshine.

# 2. Do you want to do this?

Like I want a kick in the nuts. The simple answer is NO… but we have to, it’s our job. Just don’t give us the option of having to do a job or not because odds are no mortal would want to make an ad after working in advertising say 3-5 years. If by asking this you want to hear someone answer “Yeah LEMME AT THAT AD!!!” then feel free to talk to the intern. He/she doesn’t mind getting paid shit, is eager to work their ass off and probably wants to show they have what it takes to make an awesome ad in no time and enter the glamorous biz. Us who have faced the payoff of extra work and rushing for certain people who call themselves "team players" would rather do our day-to-day and do our best on stuff that was handed in a proper job jacket, dripping with information and a proper due date. Oh and the person handing it in not being an asshole always pays dividends for us moody creatives.

1. Can I give you my opinion?

Yes you can but it’s not like I’ll care what you have to say. True, there are execs that truly always have valuable info to offer, but this beautiful exception is not the case I’m referring to. I’m referring to the people who are and shall forever be frustrated creatives. Sorry, but I call ‘em like I see ‘em.


Eugen Suman said...

great article. stumbled it. unfortunately, i get the feeling that we're all just into some sort of therapy where we get to read and talk about shit that happens on a daily basis yet nobody does anything about it - because nothing can be done about it. we just bask in the feeling that there are plenty others out there in the same situation. group therapy. nice touch about the intern thing, I was like that my first 6 months in advertising. but you learn quickly.

RestrictionsApply said...

And numbers 11 thru 6 would be:
11 - You're creative, right?
10 - Can I see another option?
9 - Did you read the brief?
8 - Do you think people will "get it?"
7 - I'm going home. Want me to order pizza for you tonight?
6 - Can you work this weekend?

joker said...


Totally agree but I've always said that my main purpose for writing so much is therapeutic more than pragmatic. Trust me, I've written management a bunch of times with suggestions and not once have my suggestions been carried out. Supposedly they've been considered, but hey, drama queening as ever, I think they just say I mean well, pat me on the head and are on their way. As for nothing to be done about it, there's an ever present level of discontent and I think our generation is a lot more whiny and bitchy than past ones so who knows if we'll just up and quit, or boycott or form a union as Makethelogobigger said in a recent post (

As for learning quickly, I took longer because I kept insisting on being the go to guy. When that go toness simply got me gotten out of an agency, I questioned it a bit. I still care and that's my main problem. But slowly apathy takes over and as posts suggest, if anything, Advertising as an industry seems to be wanted to be taken as a crock. Things could be better and they aren't, because that's the way things are. For now, I'll just keep on bitching and getting it out of my system man.


Your answers

11.) No but I play one on TV

10.) There's the door. Excellent option if you ask me.

9.) Yes, all three lines of it. Or did you refer to the copy pasted brief from two years ago?

8.) Well anyone with a reading level of over fourth grade... so I'm not sure if you'll get it.

7.) Nah, I'd rather you just give me some hair to decorate the new voodoo doll I bought from a goat slaughterer

6.) In theory I could also take over the world, but you don't see me wasting my energy on such a stupid thing either.

Thinking In Vain said...

Don’t you think this artwork is a little dull?

The brief, the deadlines - that has been my life for the last 4 weeks.

Awesome list.

Make the logo bigger said...

“Are we still okay on timing?” (Or some iteration of that.)

Yes, we are. The same as when you came in two hours earlier and asked.

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