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How Romance Will Save Creative and Nostalgia Will Kill It

2 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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For about fifty years, advertising has stayed the exact same.

We’ve begged for attention in the same ways. We’ve been scared to evolve, missing the “golden age” of advertising, talking about how great it was.


Aren’t creatives supposed to love innovation? But instead, its opposite is killing us...


We need to lose the nostalgia and keep the romance. Or in other words: Forget the medium. Love the idea.

What’s So Great About Yesterday?

“Every day, the future looks a little bit darker. But the past, even the grimy parts of it, well, it just keeps on getting brighter all the time.”
- Ms. Jupiter, The Watchmen

That’s the best description of nostalgia that I’ve ever heard.

Nostalgia is blinding. It’s limiting. It’s confining.

Nostalgia is what told us:

  • The internet’s a fad.
  • Professionals don’t use iPhones.
  • Facebook is for cat videos. (...well, just for cat videos.)

It’s what tells us that whatever we used to do is better than what we’re doing now.

Nostalgia Means You’re Not Moving On

Even today, creatives resist change.

They do the same work, in the same way, and expect the same results. Telling stories on social the same way they did on TV. Making display units just like they made print ads. Writing digital radio spots exactly like a terrestrial radio read.

They complain about the medium. They don’t understand attention shifts.

They’ve forgotten rule #1 of being a creative…

The execution isn’t the idea.

And they’re nostalgic about specific mediums.

Romance is the Constant

So, if we're open to every medium, if we don’t have nostalgia, what can we be romantic about?


Don’t fall in love with the medium. Social. TV. Print. Data. Targeting. Programmatic. None of that. Because if you're comfortable executing on any medium, you can focus on what's important...

Love the idea.

The rest will change. And it should. It’s a creative’s job as an expert communicator to be open to that change.

Romance Without Nostalgia

If you’re truly romantic about the idea, then you won’t be nostalgic about the execution. You won’t try to justify the past. You won't wish for what was, but instead, will recognize what is.

Want to hold onto nostalgia? It’s a risky move.

Because the audience doesn’t care what you want.

Thanks for reading!

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