joy magnetism: Nothin' scarier than a blank canvas

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Thursday, November 5, 2009

Nothin' scarier than a blank canvas

Magnet #622 - Van Gogh quote

People think that Mad Men's Don Draper is a creative genius. And, honestly, he probably is, with his incredible knack for being able to create something from nothing, and making clients think it's exactly what they asked for. Which is like a metastatement for his sad life, I suppose.

Don, in his dapper suits and Dapper Dan coif, always makes his Creative Director job look easy.

But it's not.

Playing Cosgrove's account manager to Don's creative director, I've sat in several creative development meetings in the last couple of days, and I honestly don't know how the Creatives do it.

From a naming assignment to not one, but two television spots, from a couple of print ads to a social responsibility newsletter, from designing a logo to finding images for a set of data reference cards - I've watched all our creative teams confront that blank canvas, and make something from nothing.

And then try to sell it in - to our internal clients, as well as the real clients.

I couldn't do it.

Give me my pretty colored spreadsheets with useless timelines that no one will meet, my estimating forms with the too high costs that no one will pay for, my letters of engagement with the horrid redlining of details that no one but Contracts cares about, my PPTs with all the jargon that no one outside the industry understands, and my myriad emails prodding people to do what the client wants them to do.

Yep. I'll take all of the above. Except the blank canvas. Don Draper can have that.

If I can have Don Draper, of course.
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