Everything you’ve described is the same problem in advertising. Over 90% of the people at any agency wonders why creatives are so difficult. Why can’t they just follow the brief? Why do they have to look at things differently? Well, here’s why. Nothing of any consequence has occurred by following a brief. If there’s frustration, it’s because one side simply doesn’t believe in “light bulb moments.” Sticking to script accomplishes nothing but the basic job at hand. That’s why the great Bill Bernbach (father of creative advertising) left Grey Advertising early in his career and started his own agency. He was tired of the sameness, the head-nodders, the people saying, “Let’s just get this done.” Instead, he looked for the people who thought differently, who saw different possibilities. That’s why Lee Clow and his team at Chiat/Day created the “Think Different” campaign for Apple. Steve Jobs saw it and immediately said “That’s what we want to say.” Maybe you haven’t heard of Bill Bernbach or Lee Clow, but you have heard of Steve Jobs. Forget all this nonsense about communicating and sticking to the job at hand. To make any kind of an impact, you have to explore. If that’s your biggest complaint about those engineers, then you’ve got some thinking to do—we all do.

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I did a poor imitation of Don Draper for 40 years before writing my first novel. I'm currently in the final stages of a children's book. Lucky me.

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