Why the best Creative Directors are Pedestrian Thinkers.

Why the best Creative Directors are Pedestrian Thinkers.

Everyone in advertising and marketing has a tough job … constantly asked to do more with less, and engage consumers who just really don’t want to be bothered. But Creative Director is a uniquely challenging role because it demands two types of thinking that don’t generally go well together.

To be successful, a Creative Director must be equally Visionary and Pedestrian.

It wasn’t always that way. Most of the historically great CDs we know and love are celebrated for the almost alchemistic way they seem to come up with great ideas. You know, someone like …

unknown

But great ideas aren’t enough any more (if, ever, really, they were.)

To be a truly successful leader, a Creative Director must also be Pedestrian. But not pedestrian as in “dull and unimaginative.” No, pedestrian as in “people in motion.”

A great Creative Director, in other words, must not only focus on the destination (the great idea)— s/he must also build the roads that make it easier to get there (process).

Without both those abilities, a CD might be accused of acting like the little kid in the backseat who endlessly asks Are We There Yet? Not only not knowing where “there” is, but also not offering help in getting “there.”

The best Creative Directors (should) spend as much (or more) time thinking about how to make the path to a great idea as direct and intuitive as possible as on the great idea itself.

And that’s a tough double act to pull off. The big picture thinker isn’t generally the nuts-and-bolts person, too. But, of the two skills – being Pedestrian may offer the greatest value.

And again, no, that doesn’t mean being boring. It means helping everyone travel more effectively and efficiently in pursuit of the best possible solution.

Calling your Creative Director “pedestrian” probably won’t go over very well. But helping your Creative Director be more Pedestrian might be just the thing your organization needs.

 

 

Case Studies

Case Study: 35% Response Rate

Case Study: 35% Response Rate

How do you get a 35% response rate on direct mail? (How about 40%?) I was showing some of my past work to a prospective client the other day, and I happened to pull out a dimensional mailing we did years ago for Nordstrom … the one that got nearly 40% response when it was…+

AdWatch: Apple, Maya Angelou and The Human Family

AdWatch: Apple, Maya Angelou and The Human Family

What do you say when you are a global brand? What do you say when your products are practically ubiquitous … shorthand for an entire class of technology? What do you’ve when your champions and critics have said nearly everything that could be said? You let a poet speak. You let a poet speak not…+

More from the Blog

How to choose the right ad agency

How to choose the right ad agency

According to Agency Spotter, there are over 120,000 companies and entities that choose to define themselves as advertising agencies in the U.S. alone. Worldwide the number is over half a billion. That’s quite a universe. How can you possibly choose the right one? Or, maybe more importantly, avoid choosing the wrong one? There are several…+

McDonalds and KFC. A tale of two fast fooders.

McDonalds and KFC. A tale of two fast fooders.

Recently my attention landed on a couple of spots for two of America’s greatest exports: McDonalds and KFC. These two creative executions come from two different worlds, and are about as distinct as any two commercials you might imagine. So, the inevitable question is … Who did it better? One of these spots works well…+

Do You Know Me?

Do You Know Me?

Hi there. I’m the consumer. (Actually, I think I prefer The Consumer.) Remember me? I’m the one onto which all your marketing attention should be focused. But I think maybe, just maybe, you spend a lot of your time thinking about things like Channel Strategy, and Content Optimization, and Shopper Marketing Fundamentals. And that means…+