Everyone is creative – your creativity is a result of your experiences and you are the sum total of your life experiences. It is those experiences that shape you in some way or another. And you make decisions based on those experiences…like what do you chose to wear today.
In my 9 to 5 advertising job, I interact with my clients on a daily basis. And on a daily basis, I am reminded how difficult it is for them to respond to creative reviews in an absolutely objective manner. I have been doing this for years – yet year in and year out, seasoned marketer or fresh-out-of-varsity intern – they all respond the same way: like the world has taught them to. Not how they would like to. Placed in the same situation, you probably would too.
Here’s why I think – you think – like they think.
From the second you were conceived, you were conscious. Physically conscious at first and then both physically and mentally conscious as you developed as a fetus.
You became aware of your parent’s voices, your mum’s emotions, dark and light, and as your brain developed you were bombarded by an array of stimuli. Nine months down the line, after much fanfare, your mum introduced you to the world. That grand entrance signified the start of your programming – in the real world.
In this new world, you met your parents and siblings: your first influencers.
Here is a quick quiz:
Can you remember the scent of your dad’s cologne or aftershave?
Chances are, that you can remember – and I am almost certain it is a fond memory. (At least I hope it was fond!)
Can you remember the colour of the dinner plates that your mum served you dinner on, every day?
Or the colour of the couch you lay on whilst watching television with your siblings?
I am sure you do.
I am also sure that you either have similar crockery in your home or the other extreme – vow never to buy anything as hideous as what your childhood had to endure! These few examples that I mentioned are but a few out of literally millions of interactions that you had throughout your life up and until the previous word that you just read, that influence the way you think and react to stimuli, today.
Everything you experienced is stored some deep in your subconscious and makes an appearance in your daily life, some way or the other. Which brings me to that outfit you picked out today. Is it a habit or creative genius that guided you in your decision? Chances are that today it was a little of both. But the first day as a little kid when you picked out what you wanted to wear was certainly a creative genius. This creative genius was based on all the stimuli placed in front of you by the world you lived in.
Do you remember your dad complimenting your mum on a long flowing floral dress that made her look like those bouncy ladies in the Body Mist adverts on TV? Or your brother insisting on wearing his neon green Ninja Turtles t-shirt for 5 days in a row because it gave him superpowers? Well, it was experiences like those that took residence in your subconscious and defined the way you perceived flowing dresses and neon green!
That was the foundation that defines how you express yourself. The way you express yourself is creative in its own unique way. Random seemingly unrelated thoughts and experiences are pulled together, overlapped or juxtaposed in a dance of joy of your neurons in your brain to birth a pattern or trait that is wholly and truly of you. This is creativity. Yes to you – the accountant reading this piece – you too are creative!
So back to my wonderful clients, who are forever entertaining, whether they know it or not: they too are creative. Creative – as only they know how to be. Especially when it comes to reviewing the blood; sweat and tears on mount boards that we place in front of them. They cannot help but default to that niggling creative persona that decides what they like and what they do not like.
The process can sometimes be tedious, but more often than not, our clients are seasoned marketers, who entertain they’re creative alter egos whilst still keeping it on a leash, as they cross-reference the objectives that they laid out in their brief.
The more seasoned they are, the shorter the creative leash is. But it is still there!
They confirm this when reviewing the wardrobe of the lead female cast member and replace the neutrally toned linen day suit with a long flowing floral dress like they remember from the 80’s television commercials – because that what represents femininity to them.
And now over to you, yes you, you techno-savvy new age global citizen reading this blog on your mobile device type person…. look up from the screen and into your nearest mirror and ask yourself: did I really chose this outfit today or did my mum dress me up like a new age seventies hippie-esk ABBA groupie? Whatever your answer is, just remember that the total sum of your life experiences defines who you are at any point in time.
So as you look around at what everybody is wearing, take note of how everything on the outside is a representation of what is going on on the inside. Go out and be that creative director of the agency of your own life – and have fun!
Rupesh R Mallgee
Managing Director and founder of Zonke Ignition Advertising