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Guest Times: The decline of the pure creative genius in advertising

Why is the age of the pure creative genius fading away? Sunetro Lahiri, Creative Director, The Glitch, tries to analyse and find an answer

Sunetro Lahiri

A cold truth is explained pretty deftly by Prof Jef L. Richards when he says, "Creativity without strategy is called art; creative with strategy is called advertising." Needless to say, strategic creativity is what the need of the hour is. Think big, but big enough to fill the brand-sized room. Chase an objective, not a wafting mirage of personal ambition. Do something cool, create something cool, craft something cool...but all of that For a brand and For a challenge its facing. What's the point if it's not!

The creative genius today bears more resemblance to the whip smart, obsessive-compulsive jack-of-all-trades-master-of-some than the pencil-chewing, sunset-gazing inspired artist and creative brain. Why, you ask? The answer is simple. Because, advertising has evolved. And the crux of the truth lies in this one cold, hard fact. It's no longer simply about positive perception alone... it's more about purchase intent.


Speaking from this side of the wall, we creatives are a bunch of people who are in equal measures blessed and cursed. Blessed because we have a canvas in the first place. Blessed because we know the joy of creating something from scratch. Blessed because we hold one of the few jobs that truly can define what an epiphany is! And finally, blessed because we get to learn from our victories and failures to get back to the drawing board and reconnect with the same people we're trying to connect every day.

The curse, of course, is largely an internal conundrum. And in this conundrum lies the answer to why the pure creative genius is fading away today. "Why can't I simply work alone?" One can, but the best results have always stemmed from interactions. "Why is the client servicing team giving their creative POV? Then I should be expected to poke my nose in their numbers?" Firstly anyone can have an opinion and a creative person may or may not choose to listen. Instead, what they should prick their ears up for is simply the sound of pragmatism and reason, which usually is deep-seated in people, entrenched in understanding the audience. As for the second part of the assumption, by all means, yes! The most successful and trusted advertising professionals got there not simply through ideas, but by subconsciously juggling roles that a planner, a designer, a copywriter, a client servicing professional and a sales professional traditionally hold. Jack of all trades, master of some, didn't we say?

Why is this point so important to spell out? To quell disenchantment and disillusionment, the biggest curse that strikes the fresh creative professional all too often. Art school, this isn't. It's a lot more tactical and logical. It's not personal creative goals first. It's personal goals through strategic needle-moving thinking. And while we shouldn't be comparing ourselves to the Renoirs & Bottcellis, we do get make our very own Mona Lisa ever so often. The one rule to that? Just don't play by the rules. That anarchy, to be honest, is the one thing that will never change about a creative.

(Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author. The facts and opinions appearing in the article do not reflect the views of and we do not assume any responsibility or liability for the same.)

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