Saturday, June 5, 2010

Creativity and Conformity

I never viewed the advertising industry as something that could have much diversity in it; it was always, in my mind, this one huge conglomerate with uniform procedures and philosophies. It's true that some commercials and billboards are more brilliant than others, but the fact that this division between the good and the bad could be related to the companies that produced them hadn't registered in my mind. I didn't realize exactly how different it could be.

After our visits to Wieden + Kennedy and McCann Erickson, this division was made very clear. It was incredibly stunning to go to McCann Erickson after our meeting with W + K, and in fact, this second presentation turned out to be much as I predicted the first would be before we visited. I was dreading the W + K visit. But whereas the first visit turned out to be an extremely pleasant surprise, the McCann Erickson visit left me with shivers of disgust. It was their cold presentation, the way they broke everything down to statistics and numbers, that caused my stomach to roll; I could hardly believe it. As an artist, the freedom and creativity of the artistic process is the most important part of art for me, and it has always appeared to me that the more brilliant the process and the idea, the more attention the piece will receive, no matter the science and math backing it. You can't quantify beauty or interest; you just need to put your heart in a piece to make it worth anything. The pieces that I saw hanging on the walls of McCann Erickson as we walked through the building were lifeless and dull. They were the kind of advertising that repulses me.

On the other hand, Wieden + Kennedy seemed entirely driven by creativity and heart. Their commercials were the kind that I always remember, and the ideas that they came up with were so innovative and imaginative that I couldn't help but love them for it. All through their presentation and even through their building itself, there was an energy that is indescribable -- and amazingly inspiring, and it seemed clear to me that this was why their products were so good; they embrace originality and flair, instead of stifling them by the status quo.

Very clearly in my mind, there is a gulf between the two companies, and there is a hell and a heaven on either side. If nothing else, this trip has shown me how diverse and rich the field of advertising is.

No comments:

Post a Comment