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The role of the agency chief creative officer today requires a unique balance of artistry, science, and channel expertise.
The Art of the Design
Successful creative must deliver surprise, delight, excitement, and awe. It must show us the world in a new way. It must memorably engage the mind and excite the heart. It must use language with such skill and power that the words themselves become new again because of the artful ways in which they’re put together. Imagery and design must break free from the familiar and conjure magic that captivates the eye and stimulates us to our core. Most of all, the idea itself must be bold and imaginative, embodying genuine inspiration and therefore inspiring us.
An Expanding Universe of Content
The digital transformation has delivered to us a vast new array of creative tools and resources and opened up countless new pathways to creative inspiration. Our computers have literally become gateways to an ever-expanding universe of content, some of it valuable, much of it ignorable, but the whole ongoing rush of it changing the way we see, think, feel, and create — almost on a minute-to-minute basis. All this represents an amazing creative opportunity but also an enormous challenge. Amid all this tantalizing imagery and content, how do we stay focused on what matters most in great creative: ideas? Thinking is different — and a lot harder — than simply finding and downloading cool images. So, it’s vital that we keep our thinking muscles toned, active, and strong — and that we not forget where great ideas actually come from.
I am sparked seeing imagination at play in whatever form it takes. Maybe it’s John Coltrane, Hemingway, or a piece of graffiti. Or even a clever scientific concept. I consider lots of things artistic, not just stuff labeled “art.” It takes a great — and, yes, a creative — mind to design and build a bridge or a car engine. I’m fascinated by theoretical physics as well as Dumb and Dumber. It’s about keeping one’s senses alive to the greatness that surrounds us.
Creating a Creative Execution
We live in an exciting time for creative execution; 20 years ago, a strong idea was limited by technology, skills, and budget. Now, we have amazing programs and all seems limitless. A few nuggets I’ve embraced: concepts should be well-thought-out — execution can make or break a great idea; have people react to your work — for years my now 17-year-old’s raw response was my bellwether; and to create for complex audiences — we must land the right emotion. This is creative in its true form. Time, passion, and patience push execution from good to award winning.
Digital is an Audience Conduit
Technology is inherent in our everyday lives. During these historic times, digital will be our best channel to reach audiences. Creative teams must remain integrated to produce in the digital space, evolving how I direct creative expression for clients, and leading to an enhanced level of collaboration between us, early and often. Cross-disciplinary groups are working together at more touchpoints than ever. With digital platforms becoming more organic, always changing, moving, and growing, it is vital that we do the same — continue to deliver responsive, authentic, and engaging experiences for our clients.
Making Magic Happen
For me, there is no creative button, dust, or potion that brings ideas. The magic happens from having a great creative partner. Being an artist, when I hear a great idea, I can just “see it.” Strong trust becomes the catalyst for taking good ideas and making them great. When you are onto something, that partnership spark will carry over into your presentations and in the difficult pharmaceutical marketing space, a great idea might need to be “sold” five times.
Poetry in Motion
It’s the words, the pictures: their little dance around screen and page.
Simple, beautiful design.
A love for type.
An idea transcending technique, born from an inspiring strat.
Nothing overworked, something spontaneous.
The whimsy of a Polish movie poster.
Something you want to look at it again and again, finding it new each time.
Work that’s respectful of its audience and their time.
Where people who see it are moved to do something.
Work you don’t need to explain.
Work that blossoms like a good glass of Brunello.
The work that says, I’m glad I chose this business.
Creating Synaptic Connections
Two specific things that always get my acetylcholine jumping and my heart-racing are one MoMA, a museum filled with inexhaustible rooms of imagination and color (and fearlessness), and two Dada, the illogical, irreverent, anti-war — anti a lot of things — avant-garde art movement that swept post-WWI Europe and later, New York. MoMA and Dada, they’re just like family.
I’ll also freely admit/acknowledge/confess that I love the thesaurus. All those adjectives and verbs waiting to be plucked and assembled into an idea; 228,000 words worth, although I realize I’ve lost count.(PV)
The Commanders & Chiefs
Managing Partner, Chief Creative Officer, Calcium
Calcium’s strategy of providing brand nourishment consists of a steady stream of powerful, engagement–building, idea–strategic, scientific, creative, and technical ideas.
Executive VP, Creative Producer, Dudnyk
Dudnyk is a full-service healthcare advertising agency that provides rare insights and creativity, with a rare approach, with rare talent, all within the rare disease space.
Chet Moss, Chief Creative Officer, QBFox Healthcomm
QBFox, an abbreviation of the well-known phrase, the quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog, is a full-service agency that is quick on the uptake, quick on the response, and works its tails off with — and for — its clients.