Maybe you’ve already seen this post: The Anti-Creativity Checklist? Compiled by Youngme Moon on YouTube, the list seemed to flood everywhere late last week, for good reason. I don’t have more to add without re-hashing the hash. If you don’t have time to watch the video, I’ve included her general checklist in the toggle at the bottom of this post.
At the same time, Moon’s post reminded me of a list I’d kept over the years of actual comments made by clients after presenting campaign concepts or ideas when I was creative director at Burson-Marsteller. I’d jokingly called the list “Statements To Make A Creative Director Cry.” Some of them are variations on the same theme as Moon’s, highlighting the essential disconnect between “the suits” vs. “the creatives.”
“No, that idea’s too big. I don’t want a BIG IDEA. I want a Little-Less-Big-Idea.”
“Let’s not try to out-think our customer. He’s lucky to have our product.”
“I want you think out of the box, not out of the ballpark.”
“That’s interesting. What else do you have?”
“Hmm, no. That’s not right.” (Followed by silence.)
“That’s a clever brand execution. But where’s the part that talks about our product being cheaper than the competition?”
“The brand promise is more important to our customer than the product promise.”
“No idea is a bad idea, except for that one.”
“Personally, I love it, but it’ll never be approved by my boss.”
“That idea might sell products, but it won’t generate media coverage.”
“I thought of that idea last week.”
“I don’t want people to sit up and take notice. I want them to just buy the product.”
“Why can’t I have something out of the box, but not risky at the same time?”
Have you noticed these lists always highlight the negative? Do you think it’s possible to ever highlight the potential? For instance, it might read something like …
“If you do (this),” says the creative, “Then I’ll do (this),” says the suit.
Haha, maybe it’s not possible. As James Lowell once said, “Compromise makes a good umbrella, but a poor roof.”
Here’s Youngme Moon’s original anti-creativity checklist. The video at the link does a nice job of supplying some additional statements giving more depth to each statement.
1. Play it safe. Listen to that inner voice.
2. Know your limitations. Don’t be afraid to pigeonhole yourself.
3. Remind yourself: It’s just a job.
4. Show you’re the smartest guy in the room.
5. Be the tough guy. Demand to see the data.
6. Respect history.
7. Stop the madness before it can get started.
8. Been there, done that.
9. Keep your eyes closed. Your mind too.
10. Assume there is no problem.
11. Underestimate your customers.
12. Be a mentor.
13. Be suspicious of the “creatives” in your organization.
14. When all else fails, act like a grown-up.
Anything else you’d add to the anti-creativity checklist?