Monika’s Musings

miscellaneous tidbits on marketing, advertising, and life in general

Do schools kill creativity?

June30

In response to my post from yesterday, my friend Iva shared this video with me. It is a speech by Sir Ken Robinson.

If you haven’t seen it already, take a peek. It’s definitely worth 20 minutes of your lives, even if it is just for the laughs.

(Why) Are we less creative?

June29

Today, the colleagues from SaatchiSaatchi Bulgaria put a huge smile on my face with something very creative and super-well targeted. For those of you who do not read Bulgarian, this is a mock news site which features one article about Saatchi & Saatchi Bulgaria winning 4 awards at the Cannes Lions Ad Festival. Loosely translated, the second paragraph of the story goes on to say that Kevin Roberts, Saatchi & Saatchi’s Global Executive Director said that 2010 was as a whole a great year for the agency. He also acknowledged that a great contribution to the success of the Bulgarian branch was the enthusiastic Client Service Director who in only one year managed to greatly motivate the team.  The last paragraph invites you to e-mail your CV if you see yourself as the Client Service Director whom Kevin Roberts is thanking.

There is obviously no need to comment on the creative approach of the agency. A testament to the fact that the piece was very well targeted is the fact that most of the comments were along the lines of “You go guys, Bulgaria is proud of you” – people who are not in the profession and only read the first paragraph. There were very few comments which said “Whoa, what an awesome idea”, and my guess is, they were left by people who work in advertising and therefore cared to read the whole “article”.

Very simple, yet brilliant. Unfortunately I have to admit that this is an exception to the general picture of Bulgarian advertising. Most of the ads on our market are either incredibly poor locally done campaigns or badly adapted irrelevant foreign campaigns which just fail and lead to ridicule.

I’ve often wondered … Why are we less creative?

In March, I was in London and I couldn’t stop admiring the creative genius that governs their ad market. You can notice this about almost any other country out there if you flip through the archives of any given Ad Festival.

I have two theories to answer my question: one is that life in Bulgaria is simply not … interesting. I remember every single day of the 6 years I spent in Paris as I was leaving my place in the mornings, I wondered what surprise was out there for me today. And I was never disappointed. Same goes for London. My friend Maria who lives there now told me that one day, as she was coming back from work, suddenly all the lights on a street were dimmed and U2 appeared on a rooftop, performed 4 songs, and then disappeared and life went back to normal. Cool stuff like that simply does not happen in Bulgaria. At least not on a daily basis. Perhaps if it did, we would have more inspiration from the things that surround us, and we would be more bold and creative.

Another possible explanation lies in Maslow’s hierarchy of needs: the fact that creativity is in the last tier of needs – after you’ve secured more basic things like … you know … food, a roof over your head, and employment. Unfortunately, Bulgaria is still a very poor country and most of people’s creativity is channeled towards basic survival.

This question has been bothering me for a while. We Bulgarians are really fun and interesting people (no bias here whatsoever). But why do our colleagues abroad come up with better, cooler, braver ideas?

I’d love to hear your thoughts on this.

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What’ya got in the bag there

June13

At the last Marketing Innovation Forum Martin Lindstrom talked about knowing your audience and making ads they will relate to. Now I know this sounds like the usual ad seminar babble, however, he gave specific examples. One of them was toothpaste ads that feature people brushing their teeth in the shower. Turns out only 4% of the people in the world do that (I’m actually one of them). But the ad doesn’t really speak directly to the other 96% and there, my friends, we have a problem.

Now I really wonder what demographic do these type of ads speak to?

Your average human being? I mean, if you were to go see your son’s performance, why wouldn’t you throw the detergent with which you wash his clothes in your bag? You know – just in case someone falsely assumes he’s got a new shirt on his back … WTF??? There’s another clip that features two hot chicks in a night club. Sure enough, they are roommates and one of them has a bottle of detergent in her handbag. In a NIGHTCLUB for crying out loud. Next time I go out, I’ll be sure to toss my detergent in with the other essentials for the night. Which reminds me not to pick up the 3-liter pack – for logistics’ sake.

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