Despite some worrying soul-searching in between currywurst at Dusseldorf airport, it turns out I do have a secret weapon. It’s laughter. Lolz, if you like. Although ever since my dad misunderstood what LOL stood for and texted me: "Daisy (the dog) died last night. Sorry. Lol, Dad.", I find that acronym filled with er… acrimony.
Not only do I like laughter, it’s a very useful tool. Not one that you wield with precision, but one you can spread like delicious Anchor butter all over your Warburtons life-crumpet.
When we joined WCRS, the teams in our neighbouring offices complained to the ECDs that we laughed too much while we were working. The plaintiffs were duly dressed down (God bless you, Yan & Luke).
Laughter has defined my creative partnership, the work I gravitate towards, my management style, the clients I would belly flop on hot coals to keep in the building, my parenting technique. It’s been the soundtrack to my marriage, and needless to say, it’ll get you through tides of shite existence so often flushed your way.
But let’s go one step further. Play is the very definition of creativity. You might think it’s all Visvim trainers and side-hustles, but it’s not. Carefree, not careless, thought is what leads to creative breakthrough, be it on canvas, between the staves, or on the Nobo flipchart with a Pentel N60 (with the greatest respect, fuck the N50).
When creative people bemoan the lack of time on a project, they’re asking for room to play. Run around. Fall over. Graze their knees and get up for another go. These are metaphors, guys. When a creative person grumbles about a lack of clarity in a brief, it’s because you’re making her think too much. Playful thought is where it’s at. Even around the most serious of subjects, play is the fuel of creativity.
And the language of play, is laughter. When we are at our most brilliant, I can sit at my desk, close my eyes and listen…before too long…there it is, the language of play being spoken. Ideas are being born, and all is well with the world.
Laughter wasn’t what got me into the game, I came for the Visvim trainers obviously, but I’m staying for the LOLs.
Billy Faithfull is the chief creative officer of Engine