Paul Shearer: creative partner at HMDG.
Paul Shearer: creative partner at HMDG.
A view from Paul Shearer

Paul Shearer: The creative floor is missing its spoilt brats and hot heads

After watching the start of the new series of Mad Men, I ask myself: "Are agencies favouring easy-to-handle creative directors these days?"

Do you have to be as quiet as a mouse to be a creative leader?

Is it the case of don't rock the boat and you can come aboard?

David Ogilvy once said about creatives: "You have to tolerate genius."

I am not saying we shouldn't be respectful and mindful of our workmates and the agency's business but, for some reason, the volume seems to have been turned down in the creative departments.

Are we all keeping our heads down when, really, we should be using our voices to get amazing work out?

Maybe the economy has created a cloud of worry.

I wonder if the fear factor has got its ugly hands on all of us.

Alex Bogusky says: "Fear is the mortal enemy of creativity, innovation and happiness." We can't be scared of feeling passionate about our ideas.

Or maybe the people who run agencies prefer the simple life.

I have a lot of sympathy for CEOs of companies. Times are hard. Budgets are shrinking. They have to make the big decisions. But I plead with them to let creatives have their drum and bang it.

It's easy to fall into a decade of: "That's OK."

We must get our mojo back. We must encourage creative people to express themselves fully. So where are all the noisy creatives? The ones who throw their toys out of the pram. I kind of look around and wonder who is shaking it up. Is Dave Trott, on his own, doing all our anarchy?

We shouldn't be afraid to disagree. I am not talking about arrogance here. Creative people are no better than anyone else. But we are different. We have to have our ideas scrutinised and shown to millions. So we must be emotional and not rational.

Businessmen with suits run our ad agencies. I think that's the way it should be. What I say to them is: don't be scared of the hot heads and spoilt brats. They will bring great ideas that will bring great success.

You employ people who think they can change the world.

We think we can create something that has never been seen before. We need to be able to tell a client that they are wrong without worrying about feelings. After all, it's better to be wrong before you have blown the budget.

The route to success is speaking from the heart. Our French compatriots seem to do it. Ask Fred and Farid to keep their opinions to themselves and see what you get. We need to be spontaneous and have a spark without being disrespectful.

But, most of all, we need to be free enough to think without thinking.

Paul Shearer is the creative partner at HMDG.