Losing touch with craft: is the demand for efficiency destroying what we're doing?

01f31bb.jpgBy Mike Davison (left), creative director, Colenso BBDO

This question has been on my mind for a while. I'm 48 and was brought up in the advertising era of ponytails and Porsches. We'd make a 3-image magazine and billboard campaign along with a TVC. Everyone would see it, so we'd spend time on the detail. Job done.

I don't have to describe the 'now', except to say time has shrunk and so have our attention spans.
There's absolutely no doubt in my mind that jaded punters appreciate love when they see it, or maybe they just feel it when they don't. The soul-searching tenacity required to reduce an ad down to its' lovely bones normally shows and is appreciated - mostly subliminally.
The Milk Slams work for Anchor is a good example. It's a visual feast wrapped around a beautiful collection of words on a platform of making milk cool again. There's craft in every step, both on the back end internally and front end execution, leaving you fantasising - wishing that everything we watched were as delicious.

While insights and puns and ideas are great, nothing moves as fast or is as sticky as an indelible image. It turns out you can actually grab a persons' heart by the eye balls.
Until there's a bot that can stay up all night 'trying things', we, who love to tinker and ramble and caress are going to have to pick our battles. Poor work based on efficiencies can be polished, but maybe it's a matter of being discerning about what requires the most of our love.

Practice, practice, practice.

But wait for that game changer. There's no greater shame in advertising than an undercooked idea, rushed out and claiming an exclusive space like an unruly, half-drunk teenager on a sun lounger.
So, craft works, which means there will always be a place for it. But those of us that like to hide art inside ads have to adapt like the rest of the world. Keep getting faster at what we do and picking the right horses to back.

Because without the craft, things might get ugly.

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