Ad Exec: The creative stand
by Tom Fels (@thomasfels) Long careers in dusty halls, one-trick ponies and retirement calls. This is not the stuff of the creative class.
We are thrust from challenge to challenge, never sure of the outcome but ever hopeful, the flickering of our inventive spirit hungry for greatness.
Denim is our uniform and coffee is our fuel. We start early and end late, sacrifice weekends, family and friends for the next deadline. Only to do it all again ‘tomorrow’.
We are locked in a race against time together with our clients; often allies, sometimes foes, always pushing for the same triumph we so keenly seek.
We learn. Every. Day.
There is no perfect creative campaign, concept or idea. We’re in the game of experimentation and, if you’re in for the ride, we are ready to go. Agile and flexible, we think on our feet (if you only knew how close some of our work came to never being presented); we maneuver, polish and shine. Sometimes, even in the car outside your office.
A specialist, you ask? Yes, indeed, but a generalist, too. We’ve sold luxury, necessity and obscenity. We think across channels and categories, venturing into unchartered territory at a whim. The next frontier is ours, often well before it is yours.
We win pitches and lose some, too. But never for lack of trying.
We are a team.
Our people, they’re interesting as hell — filmmakers, former bakers, rappers, chefs and stylists — all put to work in a melting pot of controlled madness to conjure ‘the next big thing’. When tequila time strikes, the masses emerge; creative time halts in a celebratory splurge. The pressure needs a release.
We do lose good people along the way. Some to clients, others to startups, tech companies and the inevitable eat, pray, love that often accompanies years in the game. But the passion doesn’t wane.
We march on.
We are what we create, what we think and how we act. Very little can knock us down.
This industry is a gift, a curse and everything in between. Love it, hate it, it’s as sticky as glue. And my thought to end the year is that we are lucky to have such creative minds to call friends. Take stock, take rest and we will see you again soon. There is great work waiting to be done.
With a decade of local and international experience in leading brand consulting, design, shopper marketing and integrated advertising roles, Tom Fels (@thomasfels) has gained a deeply relevant understanding of the dynamics of agencies. His skills are put to work daily as group managing director of Publicis Machine. He contributes the monthly “Ad Exec” column to MarkLives.
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