Hope You Read It. Hope You Like It.
One of my favourite ECDs (and people) I’ve ever worked with, Damon Stapleton, recently wrote a piece about belief. You should read it. It hits every nail on the head. The link is below.
In a nutshell, he talks about that fact that as a creative, if you have no belief, you may as well pack it in.
He’s right. Belief is number 1.
I also believe that belief has a powerful sidekick in advertising. It’s called hope. A formidable emotion. I guess it’s true of every business, but it feels so incredibly intense in ad-land. Here's how it usually works:
Think of the world of advertising as a pond – the water is clients, meetings, pitches, conference calls, muffins – and we, as creatives, spend each day hopping across this pond on lily pads of hope.
We hope for a good brief. Hope there’s a budget to make it. We hope there’s time to come up with an idea. Hope we can get an extension. Hope the ideas are good. Then hope our CD likes them…just one of them. Then hope the ECD agrees. We hope planning doesn’t take a knife to it. We hope the GAD nods and laughs. We hope the CEO sees what we’re seeing. Each hop of hope is a tightly crossed-finger moment.
Once an idea has made it through the internal minefield, it’s on to the client. We hope they’re in a good mood for the presentation. Hope the projector works. Hope their boss hasn’t just torn them a new arsehole before your presentation. Hope they didn’t tear the previous agency a new arsehole before your presentation. We hope they smile. We hope the research group laughs. Hope the new regional client isn’t a dick and hope she laughs, hope her bosses laugh, and their bosses bosses and so on.
What drives an idea is belief. What keeps us hopping is hope. Because an idea only lives if someone says ‘yes’ at each step of its germination. That’s a lot of praying.
The further along the line an idea travels, the more intense the hope becomes; hope grows as an idea grows. I can remember some days not even wanting to know if the client said yes or no. Because the flip-side to high-fives and hugs and gins is a gut-wrenching emptiness and feeling of failure. Creatives take failure hard. We’ve all had a killer idea killed right at the very moment it’s about to take it’s first breath of real life. There’s no worse feeling in the world. At that moment you usually wish it had died at birth.
This is when good creatives show their true colours. These are the people you want around you – the ones who pick themselves up, grab another brief, and hop and hope for the best, again.
Here’s Damon’s article: