Magazine article Marketing

Take Care Not to Confuse Talent with Creativity

Magazine article Marketing

Take Care Not to Confuse Talent with Creativity

Article excerpt

Do we revere creativity too much and talent too little? It is a question I was recently asked by a terrifyingly bright student at a seminar. (Nobody likes a smart-arse, the old adage claims, but I do). "Being creative," the student said, "is easy-peasey. Any fool can have new ideas. What is difficult is to have great ideas."

"Lots of pop groups," she added, "are amazingly creative. They write new songs all the time. But they've no talent, so their songs are crap."

Her words, to coin an 'orrible pun, struck a chord. Anybody who has worked in an advertising agency for a few nanoseconds knows that creatives constantly bubble with new ideas. Clients rarely believe this. Clients suspect agencies are still struggling to scrabble together an idea or two moments before the presentation begins. Rubbish.

Agencies usually have dozens of ideas up their sleeves, ready to be whisked out like conjurors' rabbits. Ideas flow from most advertising folk as freely as promises from politicians at election time. But as the student said, most of the ideas are crap. Really great ideas are hard to come by--rare as sober creatives at an awards dinner. It is great ideas agencies are sometimes still scrabbling for moments before the presentation.

The paramount quality creatives need is the ability to translate their ideas into dazzling sales communications. I call that ability talent, rather than creativity. What's the difference? Well, think about cooking. To cook a roast or a pie brilliantly you don't need originality, but you do need talent. …

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