What value should we put on our ideas?
By Andy Fackrell, Regional Creative Director, DDB Group Asia Pacific
The Idea Catchers project initially came about because we at DDB Asia Pac wanted to address the real issue of how much it costs to create great work. A film to present at a round of DDB talks became something broader, something that could be shared industry wide.
And it wasn’t until I started writing the script, that I realized this wasn’t about dollars and cents. It’s about the value we should be placing on our ideas, and recognizing that ideas take time and that we give them away too easily. If the development of ideas is threatened, the industry’s ability to sell products is also in jeopardy. Marketers need to give their agencies the space to let good ideas thrive in order to create iconic brands.
The project also allowed me the indulgence of including the work that influenced me through my career. Obviously “Snow Plow” was a little before my time, but ads like “Balls,” “Dam Busters,” “Surfer,” and “Singing in the Rain” all had a huge effect.The “Indian Woodcarver” is a slightly more obscure reference. I included that for all the ad nerds who read D&AD cover to cover, because that’s partially the point of this. The great creators are people who are detail obsessed, perfectionists, restless souls needing an expression for their creativity.
I also wanted to give this film a sense of what we all go through – the blank page staring up at each of us every day – with all the expectations riding on what ends up on it, including our own. I wanted to convey the hours spent hopelessly slaving over a brief at work, when it could be an idea you get on a morning jog that actually cracks it. That as a creative, we can never switch off. The dumbest thing can sometimes lead you somewhere big.
There are some little homages to people I have worked with: Jerry Cronin, formerly of W+K, reads inflight magazines cover to cover. Every word. I’ve watched him do it.I included “Laila” from 180 Amsterdam, because back then, our little Herengracht canal house was on a mission to instill the adidas work with as much passion as we could muster. Because adidas sure felt passionate about their brand—as do the likes of VW or Harvey Nichols today.
We did create a DDB specific film, yet I wanted the message to be universal, as it’s what all agencies feel these days; that too little time is given to the most important part of the process—the creation of the work. All agencies have had their great moments, and would love to bottle that secret sauce to keep each piece of work at that stellar level. Yet the struggle starts again with each new piece of white paper.
Are there clients who believe in the words of “The Idea Catchers”? There are many that claim to, few who will actually live by them. But they are around in the DDB network, and they are to be cherished. When both sides believe in the value of creativity, great things happen. And brands thrive.
Our initial objective was to get people to think more about the value of creativity and to consider the time and effort it takes to come up with something brilliant. The responses and comments we received about the video have been really heartening. Publications, competitive agencies, and creatives from many industries have cared enough to share and salute “The Idea Catchers,” proving they also believe.