Russell Davies: Let's take a moment to savour the great things this summer

By Russell Davies,, Thursday, 06 September 2012 08:00AM

Ah, September! More leaves among the litter in Soho Square, school kids blocking up the Tube again, the Campaign A List e-mails arrive, managing directors send e-mails demanding someone organise the Christmas party, 2013 budgets are revealed, 2012 targets are quietly revised downwards, facilities people kick boilers, finance directors wonder if cancelling the flowers on reception will get them back into the black, planners sigh and start working on the 2013 Trends presentation, office managers wonder whether corporately embossed desk diaries are still a thing anybody wants, summer hours are over, there are no bank holidays until Christmas and we all get back to work.

Russell Davies: Let's take a moment to savour the great things this summer

Just before we climb back into the old routine, let's think about the summer a bit - this incredible, astounding, Olympic, Paralympic summer - and wonder if there's anything we should preserve. Maybe not the big things - we can't keep doing opening ceremonies if there's nothing to open - but maybe in the little things we can raise our games, level up as a creative nation. Maybe we can think about that.

I saw a Barclays ad on TV last night. I think it was Barclays. It wasn't the best ad I'd ever seen, but it started off with a crowd of general consumers. You know the sort: beautiful, smiling people intended to represent average customers. So far so blah. But, I think I'm right in remembering, one of those good-looking people was a good-looking person in a wheelchair. Just there, in the crowd, just being smiley and fake-ordinary like everyone else. Someone with a disability. I thought, wow, that's not something I've seen before. Now, maybe it's just something I've missed - I'm seeing way more commercial TV now the Paralympics are on - but I suspect not. I suspect the influence of the Paralympics has persuaded someone to be a little more inclusive with their casting. Which is a brilliant thing. Well done, Barclays, if it was in fact you.

And in small, important decisions like that, you get a better creative product. It's the difference between the Olympic opening ceremony and the closing one. Some ambition, some originality and a huge amount of not dumbing down or taking your audience for granted. A brief as constrained and circumscribed as an Olympic opening ceremony can thus become a thrilling creative moment. Ignore that stuff and you get a giant X Factor.

So, I'm hoping, as you settle back into the routine and watch the grey drizzles of autumn roll in, you'll try to recall those magical nights of summer and remember that the people who made those moments weren't that different to you. They had a tough brief, hemmed around with politics and expectations, and they made something utterly surprising and special. And you could too.

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