A major issue around advertising and marketing nowadays is that there is a drive to “learn and perfect” it. And this is resulting in less actual creativity being used.
Apparently this has been an issue going all the way back to the start of the advertising age, two years after World War 2 in 1947.
In that year, William “Bill” Bernach was the Creative Director at Grey Advertising, before leaving to become one of the founders of DDB. However, in this infamous letter to the leadership of Grey he pointed out a disturbing trend of advertising becoming filled with people who knew all the theory and techniques, but little about true creativity and coming up with risky ideas.
Here is a reprint of the letter:
May 15, 1947
Our agency is getting big. That’s something to be happy about. But it’s something to worry about, too, and I don’t mind telling you I’m damned worried. I’m worried that we’re going to fall into the trap of bigness, that we’re going to worship techniques instead of substance, that we’re going to follow history instead of making it, that we’re going to be drowned by superficialities instead of buoyed up by solid fundamentals. I’m worried lest hardening of the creative arteries begin to set in.
There are a lot of great technicians in advertising. And unfortunately they talk the best game. They know all the rules. They can tell you that people in an ad will get you greater readership. They can tell you that a sentence should be this sort
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