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The Life of a Creative & Mastering Rejection

What is it like to be a creative in the marketing/advertising world? Well, it’s exciting, challenging, fun, hilarious and sometimes — frustrating. Creatives are given puzzles to solve. Meet the campaign objectives in an engaging way. Communicate without being boring. Be imaginative, but results-driven.

Basically, we generate ideas and solutions — and a lot of them.

However, since creativity is subjective and everyone’s opinion absolutely counts, there’s one thing you need to get used to in this business. About 99% of your ideas will be rejected. Even your most beloved ideas will likely be doomed.

The lesson any creative needs to learn is to put their ego and personal attachments aside and keep coming up with ideas. Until one sticks. Until one is a grand slam. That idea was meant to be.

Here’s a somewhat typical scenario…

Monday: New marketing campaign is handed over to the creative team. Account manager meets with creatives, hands out the creative brief. Asks for the first round of ideas to be presented in a week.

Tuesday: Creatives review brief. Highlight important stuff. Sketch some ideas. Write some thoughts.

Wednesday: Creatives spitball more ideas. Eat cookies. Sketch, write, surf the interwebs while ideas roll around in their subconscious.

Thursday: Creatives go back through notes and pick out the best ideas. Re-discuss. A few ideas now spawn more, even better ideas. The team is excited. There is laughter. There is hope. Perhaps love for these ideas. Nothing can stop us!

Friday: Words and images flow effortlessly. Hand-drawn sketches are turned into beautiful full-color layouts. Kerning is applied. Copy tweaks made. These are GREAT IDEAS THAT WILL REVOLUTIONIZE THE WORLD. Creatives are looking forward to the Monday meeting and dazzling the account manager.

Monday: Creatives present their ideas. Account manager silently browses the layouts. Total poker face, a couple nods of approval. Pushes some into a pile. Looks through the ones left on the table. Then pushes them into the pile. They say, “This is a great start. But, it’s not really what I was looking for. So, how about you keep going?”

Oh, the cursed life of the creative! Woe is me! While some creatives may throw staplers or wail about how much of a genius idea they had, others realize it’s not the end of the world.

You missed the mark. So what? It’s time to move on. You’ll come up with even more, probably better ideas — ones that will make everyone happy and achieve your campaign goals.

If you’re a creative, don’t give up. You’ll get there. I promise.

By Modern Postcard

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