Are you creative, or creHATEive?
Account guy: Hey, we have a new project from the big client.
Creative guy: Oh, sweet. What is it?
Account guy: It’s a national ad campaign. There’s money for a youtube TV spot, some interactive content and a series of e-magazine ads.
Creative guy: Score. When do we get briefed?
Account guy: Tomorrow, after the disk arrives, so we can get all the…
Creative guy (interrupting cow): Huh? Disk? What disk?
Account guy: …uh, it’s the disk with the creative.
Creative guy: Whoa-whoa-whoa …I haven’t DONE any creative yet.
Account guy: Yeah, I know, but it’s a pick up from the national brand campaign.
Creative guy: Pffft! It likely sucks.
Account guy: Well, …I don’t know, I haven’t seen it, but I’m sure it’s fine.
Creative guy: Right, I forgot you have a PHD in creative evaluation.
Account guy: …Jesus Christ, I thought you’d be happy you have less work to do.
Creative guy (who just said he’s over-worked, about 38 minutes ago at Starbucks): So?
Account guy: …okay, well, I’m really looking forward to this project now.
Creative guy (angst-ridden and misunderstood): I’ll go practice my excited face.
Nine times out of every ten, the creative is as good (or better) than you’d have done. It was done by someone like you, and she can read a brief just as easily as you can. I don’t know why so many of us do this, but I’ve been guilty more than my fair-share of times, and I know it’s prevented me from growing at times. The best attitude in such a case, is a neutral one.
It might actually suck. There is that one, in the ten (or twenty) that will. It might suck because the creative team lost 6 battles in a row against an unmoving client, or the budget was stifling. You could fill up an 11×17 Hammermill laser sheet, written in ball point, all the reasons it likely ended up that way. Regardless why it might suck, the horse has left the barn. As a creative pro, one very important mindset to cultivate is a neutral positive one, that every project you’re entrusted with is a compliment, and you owe your client and your team, your best work. Did the other agency phone it in? Maybe. Will you, out of spite, return the favour? What if you went and solved the problem of your project’s short-comings, with smart layouts, efficient design and by making it your campaign? Do it your way, and respect the material you’re given, …just find the song it wants to sing. What do you think?