Sunday, January 19, 2014

Never Put An Art Director With A Stuntman

Darren Bailes, ECD of British ad agency VCCP, has written an article for the UK's Campaign magazine in which he proposes that "This year should be the year of 'hiring the random'. How great would it be to hire a scientist and put them with a copywriter?" he says, adding "Or a stuntman."

I'll tell you how great it would be, Darren. Not great at all. In fact it would be shite.

But I'm pretty sure Darren knows this. He's just led VCCP to the UK 'Agency of the Year' title, and produced a slew of good work; he undoubtedly knows what he's doing.

The real reason he has made this suggestion is purely for perception-management. He wants to portray his creative department as open, and the opposite of old-fashioned. Fair play to him; he's fighting our corner... fighting the tide of people who accuse us of being rigid and protectionist.

But of course, it will never happen.

I worked at one big agency where a new ECD took over and made the same announcement. Copywriters would be working with psychologists, art directors with comedians, etc.

Never happened.

But it sounded great. 

In a way, it's quite sad that we have to go to these lengths to convince people we are open-minded. Quite demeaning, really. An orchestra would never announce they were going to have a scientist play the cello, or ask a stuntman to play the flute. There's a perception that 'everyone is creative' whereas no one goes around saying that 'everyone can play the trumpet.'

Actually I don't think that old cliche is the point here. I don't think Darren Bailes is saying that stuntmen could do a better job than art directors, as individuals. But he is saying - must be - that a creative/stuntman duo would outperform two creatives. He's saying that creative duos are so lacking in fresh thinking, we could benefit from teaming up with someone from completely outside the industry. Do you think he's right? 



Anonymous said...

When my old partner and I were thrown out of a previous agency, the MD said he wouldn't be hiring new CD's but probably an Architect and an Industrial Designer! P.S. The MD lasted six months after our exit.

Groucho said...

An agency I worked at once in NZ hired a plumber as a copywriter. His copy was just OK, but the shitter was never blocked.

Miss Adventure said...

How does this sounds: "Hey stuntman, seeing as you've got a bit of downtime, would you mind doing us a quickie and look at these interest rate banner ads for us, just a quick storyboard scamp'll do." Just doesn't work does it?

Twinkle said...

Agree. Whenever I hear an ECD say this, I just think "wanker".

Anonymous said...

An extremely arrogant premise, to begin with. Why on earth would a stuntman, plumber, architect or chef want to work in advertising, to begin with? Each of those fields isself sufficient, they dont need advertising to be better at what they do.

Anonymous said...

I assume that he wants to do this to 'shake up' the creative product. From what I've seen in my 20 years in the creative department, there's no lack of ideas, or edgy creative work. They're in most bottom drawers.
it's the ability to sell the ideas and work that is lacking. I get so frustrated at seeing agencies constantly hiring 'top creatives' that last 6 months and expecting them to change the product.
It starts with the clients attitude, the relationship with account service, the planning depts ability and then the creative. It's unrealistic to think that the creative department is solely responsible for the final product.

Miss Adventure said...

Actually, I used to work at VCCP London and he was pretty decent bloke. I guess it shows we can all go a bit mental in this job from time to time.

Fact is said...

Creative directors hire plumbers, IT specialists, salesmen, bus drivers and the like all the time. Usually, they've left that job because they don't like it, and have done AWARD school or similar. Hello, advertising.

Anonymous said...

Well said Paul,

Couldn't agree more. The difference between great advertising and the rest of the dribble is usually the client and/or the agency's ability to sell the work.

Every decent creative department in the country is capable of Cannes-esque thinking. Unfortunately most clients are incapable of buying such work.

Melbourne Creative

lubomir said...

I think this fellow pulls a stunt for the naive and susceptible members of the audience.

I don’t know why but ad people are killing their own profession like nobody else.

What will be you reaction if the Chief of Surgery says: “I was thinking that we can do some random hiring here, people. You know my tailor Steve. Yeah, the One-eyed Steve – he is amazing with sewing. Pam, on the second floor she is great with clippers. Have you seen her garden?”

Ad business is turned into a sloppy pastime, an infantile show. Stop expecting others to show you professional respect when you don't even show that to yourself.

AnotherAdWanker said...

Didn't mother try this a few years back? Hired a few basket weavers and the like. scrapped it pretty sharpish too.

Sell! Sell! said...

Good post Scamp, I was going to write a comment, but I ended up writing this...

Jaded. said...

When I worked in New York the CCO (ECD in old money) brought in a staff writer from the Letterman Show to work with us an some Heineken work. It was a disaster. He was so fucking funny everyone in the creative department became utterly bereft of confidence. Actually it was brilliant, just made me think holy shit - I need to work so much harder. Having said that - it didn't happen again. The comedian was confronted by planner and a bow tie chart and thought - fuck this.

Anonymous said...

VCCP was better when Steve Vranakis was about.