Why positivity will save creatives when faced with WTF moments
A view from Ben Middleton

Why positivity will save creatives when faced with WTF moments

Don't bitch about the client or curse the brief, remember how lucky you are and use this energy as a force of positivity, Creature's chief creative officer says.

If, like Stu and I, you're lucky enough to be running a creative department (let alone just working in one), then you know the exciting nuances and personalities that make up your agency’s armoury.

You also know the massive impact and power that this trusty rabble can have on the overall mood and energy of the agency. Our creative departments are, after all, the engine room of any creative business. They’re where the magic happens, where briefs become gold and where the buzz that propels agencies to achieve incredible things begins.

But in a world of ‘meh’, misery and mumbling, the change-agent of positivity and self-belief can be harder to find than ever.

Which is hardly surprising.

Brexit, corporate stumbling and the ongoing rumble of geo-political madness isn't pointing us towards economic certainty or seismic marketing boldness any time soon, so the quicker we start channelling and nurturing our own positivity to force things to improve, the better.

The funny thing about positivity is that it's a choice. When confronted with those WTF moments, we can choose how we move forward.

As Randy Pausch said: "We cannot change the cards we're dealt, just how we play the hand". Or to butcher it into adver-speak: "when circumstances shit all over the Pencil-winning potential of our work, we have the privilege of choosing to be positive and believe in a different way of making it great".

And you know what? More often than not, when we do this, magical things can happen.

And it's all lurking there deep down inside all of us. It might be because you're angry, you need to prove some people wrong, or that you love typography more than anything on earth. Whatever it is, find that thing – that feeling – that makes you feel giddy with excitement, passion and potential and point it joyously at the brief sat in front of you.

Passion and positivity are in the DNA of the creative department that changes the world. Preciousness isn't.

So, next time you find yourself (or anyone in your department) bitching about the brief, cursing those client comments or dissing that digital buy, take a moment to remember how lucky you are. Realise how important your vision of the wonderful potential in those things is and what it can do for the people around you. That strat or account exec don't want to make that thing shit either, and you showing them that "there's gold in them-there more product focused hills" will not only lift their moods, but catapult them back off into the agency with a spring in their step, buzzing in the knowledge that the creatives 'get it’ and they believe they can make it great too.

Let's recognise, shit happens. Briefs change; sales results suck because it snowed in June, real people didn't spot the microscopic logo you hid in the corner of that beautiful brand campaign, and having slept on it, the client doesn't love the script as much as they thought they did. This is 95% of agency experience.

So next time something like this happens you know what to do: 

Look at that 30-second brand film that the client can afford and make it better than anything else.

Take that two-for-one radio offer and make it different to everything else on the airwaves.

Make outdoor that doesn't look like posters and press ads, so real people actually notice them.

This isn't blind optimism, this is positivity. Passion. Belief. Raw energy. And it can create amazing things, if it's channelled in the right direction.

And that's usually the brilliant people you're lucky enough to be surrounded by every day.

Ben Middleton is the chief creative officer at Creature