So, without 2011 having yet expired I’m thinking to the next year. But, for once, I’m not wishing my life away. Instead, I’m considering what the future holds in a more positive light. Because 2012 is going to a year of significant change. Well, for me; I don’t want to pretend to speak for everyone.
This change has been coming for many years now, I think. As a creative, when you get as old as I am (and for a lot more, before this age) you begin to consider where you want your career to go: creative director or seasoned seniors, or perhaps into a planning role or one that focuses more on the business side of advertising.
I’ve been fighting this for some time, believing that I’m not yet done with being a creative. And I’m not.
Oh, I start sentences like this all the time. In petulant moments I cast out that I’m tired of advertising, that I think its day is done.
I don’t believe that, really.
It’s not that I find creative thinking easy – it’s not! And I hope I’m good enough at it to sustain another 15+ years in what can often be an unforgiving industry for those who can’t keep up with the pace of change, or rethink a tired idea into a fresh and new thought.
So, it’s not about challenge. Or the belief the industry is dying as this year is destined in the next few days.
What I do know is that the way advertising goes about creating ideas is ripe for a tweak. The classic art director/copywriter set-up has proven good for years but now we have so many other disciplines to add to the mix. And I’ve never been good at hiding behind the persona of a pure-breed copywriter.
I have a healthy yearning to understand technology’s contribution to ideas – especially where execution can play a huge part in telling a consumer a story. Play has also featured heavily in my life in the past 2 years or so. And I’m getting interested in projects outside of my own creative bent. In some cases I’m expanding my own skills into other areas, to explore them and see what I can get out of it. These areas of interest range from storytelling across platforms (the dreaded term, transmedia) through to technical solutions to creation, curation, execution and interaction.
And so what I want to spend my time doing has moved on. Or perhaps moved away from what I currently spend my time doing. Except there will also be an idea at the heart of it. Some things never change.
What all this means is I’m weighing up options. I find myself without a creative partner – through my choice, I hasten to add. I’ll miss being with an art director. Yet, opportunities exist in other realms and the intersections they create.
Not in planning.
Not in media.
Not in creative.
Not in technology.
Not in user experience.
Not in any single category.
I’m betting my next career move on it being in a partnership that allows for interaction and thought to pass between every discipline that exists in the advertising industry, and beyond. All of those above and more.
It’s an experiment for me. And for my employer (I’m not moving agency!).
Then again, don’t all breakthroughs happen when someone posits a hypothesis and sets out to prove it or disprove it? The results are genuinely interesting most of the time – and you learn a lot.
I can’t say any more about it for now. And it won’t happen instantly. And I’ll still be doing what I do now, just in a different way. Or not.
So, As I promised at the start of this I wouldn’t want to wish my life away any quicker than it’s already slipping: bring on 2012. It promises to be different and that’s exactly what I need right now.