There’s an inevitable moment in most ad industry disagreements in which a creative demands, “Let’s see your portfolio.” The translation is often: What have you actually done? I mean, what have you ever made? The divide is between the people who make stuff (aka creatives) and the people who talk about stuff (aka strategists). The former hold sway while the latter have no standing when it comes to creative matters.
The creativity of the digital world is vastly different from the analog environment. There, creative is typically a static commercial art piece (or a “portfolio” of these). Creativity represented by great copy, an idea that makes a twist on a popular culture or “captures the zeitgeist,” or as a piece-of-art logo and print ad, may indeed belong to the same era as those media that defined it.
In the digital world, that approach doesn’t cut it. The best creative is the creation of relationships, connections and interactions. It connects tools with behaviors, locations, and objects. It creates networks or systems. To be creative there, you need to be strategic: you need to figure out who connects to whom, when and why and to what result. Simply, you need to plan for a chain reaction. These networks then give way to a collective creativity that becomes visible to all to use it, build upon it, change it, and add to it. In the same way the concept of the “lone inventor” turned out to be a myth and the concept of “big idea” turned out to be hoax, the notion of “big name” in advertising may turn out to be a fake.
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