There is that myth that getting into Advertising allows people to live out their ‘creative fantasies’ and get paid for it. And life becomes a cycle of constant catharsis wherein you resolve your continual angst and repression by channelling it to create content that others then praise for being brilliant and ahead of its’ time.
But ‘being creative’ as an idealistic pursuit and ‘being creative’ in Advertising are two different things. In advertising, you are on other people’s will. Doing other people’s bidding. You’re not making a personal statement. And more importantly, it’s NOT art.
To be honest, neither are other creative mediums. Movies are not art because studios/ investors want the money they invested on a project back (with returns). Music cannot be art because of the same reason. The post globalization goal of any sort of creative medium is to appeal to as many people as possible and be as accessible as you possibly can.
This leads to some people getting frustrated with the profession. They expect a large sense of autonomy when they enter the field and are surprised to find out that 100% of it is dictated by client needs. It’s not about the fact that whether you are right or wrong. It’s about what the Client wants. And what the people want.
Which is not to say that you won’t have the ability to exercise your creative talents in the field. After all, your good ideas serving other people’s needs is pretty cathartic in itself. But most creative people don’t really have that agenda. In fact, they have their own agenda. Which is to fulfil their own needs. There are often accounts from people who dream and study to become artists, painters, filmmakers, screenwriters and musicians only to end up working for advertising. These people often talk about how they made their career switches and became successful despite sacrificing their larger ambitions. Some seem happy with it. Other still seem bitter that their ultimate aspirations were not met.
Maybe the whole millennial attitude is to blame. There’s also a lot of societal conditioning. People are expected to follow a certain path in life to be considered successful. Any deviance from that is considered to be a wrong move. The bar on the overall age of being ‘successful’ has also been lowered. Nowadays, people open up successful start-ups at age 25 (and are applauded for it). It’s possible to see how a somewhat laid-back, bohemian, easy going writer/painter feel out of touch in this world. He may argue that the world needs more art but who is there to listen?
Most creative people are also ambitious. And a lot of their day is spent on thinking about and working on their ultimate ambition. It almost becomes a sense of their being. Whether it’s making a film, or writing a novel. They do everything they possibly can in the day trying to accomplish that goal. It’s really hard, however and it’s not accomplished easily. And the dry period that most of them will certainly accomplish can create a lot of anxieties and pent up hostility.
The point whilst illustrating the above was to sort of express the mind-set of the creative person when he/she enters into advertising. They have to make peace with the fact that it is after all, an industry. Which means, it has to grow each year and that it has to show consistent results AND it has to contribute to the economy. A lot of creatives need to realise that they’re entering a field which needs their input on an overall process that has to show profits and sale ability. It is NOT a medium for self-expression. Nor is it something that you can hold to claim authorship over. It’s a proper career.
It can be hard to accept some compromises, especially when you hold yourself to such high standards. But recognise that being creative is a gift and try to use it for something. Try improving and get better at your job. A degree of flexibility and empathy will help you in your profession and pay great dividends. Try and work on your strengths and be optimistic for the future. Use your creative urge to develop new talents, meet new people, learn new things and have new experiences. Try and be balanced and reasonable.
So that whenever new opportunities open up, you can be your best self.