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Why Creatives Can't Just Be Creative Anymore

3 min read

I'm Jeremy Carson, and this is everything I wish I knew about the advertising and creative industry when I got started. And everything I'm discovering as a Creative Director today.
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At our core, creatives do something incredible: form ideas that connect with people.

But it doesn’t stop there. The idea is at the center, and the rest is all execution.

Execution is how that idea is communicated to the world. So we have to be on the cutting edge of human communication. It’s why we understand, better than anyone else, how to connect with people through our ideas. But while the mediums everybody communicates upon are changing, nostalgia for the old world is causing the majority of creatives to fall behind.

Creatives need to be experts at communication.

Now, if you’re at the end of your career, resting upon your piles of Clios, Pencils, and Lions, then ignore what I’m about to say. But, if you want to be relevant in the industry, you better listen up…

Where’s the World Going?

Look, I’m not saying that TV is dead. Or print. Or radio.

I’m simply asking you: where do you think 90% of the world’s attention will be in 10 years? 5 years? Tomorrow? Where is it now?

The Internet is Not a Fad

Holy crap. I don’t know why I have to keep defending digital in this industry. I’ve written about how students aren’t prepared for the new world, how our phones are killing TV, and how tech is beating creative. But every time I bring that stuff up, nostalgia kicks in, and creatives resist.

We’re on the verge of the biggest shift in human communication since the telephone.

Ten years ago, communicating on the internet was rare. But with the ubiquity of social media (which is just how we communicate on the internet), it’s the norm. We spend more time online than we do on any other medium. Yes, including TV, because we’re online while we’re watching TV. And guess where we’re online the most...

Your Universe is in Your Hand

My grandmother texted me for my birthday. My mother communicates solely in GIFs. Everybody...I repeat, on their phone. As Gary Vaynerchuck says: It’s the remote control to your life.

When was the last time you went a day, how about an hour, without looking at your phone? Maybe it was Facebook, Snapchat, your browser, your favorite news reader...we check our phones over a hundred times a day.

So, why is it so hard to convince people that digital, mobile, social cannot be an afterthought in advertising?

The Medium is Not the Idea

Okay, let me reiterate: the idea is always at the core. But we are failing as creatives if we think making a TV spot or print ad is always the best medium for today or tomorrow’s audience.

Creatives Need to Learn

Stop being lazy. Stop being romantic, wishing the Mad Men days were still around. Stop being nostalgic and start evolving.

Creatives have a responsibility.

You’ve been given a gift: the ability to conjure ideas from nothing. But failing to understand how to best communicate those ideas is the best way to waste that gift.

Bob Dylan said it right: the times, they are a changin’.

Thanks for reading!

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