Nail the first draft, you creative director… you

Creative people don’t like being told what to do. They don’t like their work criticized. They’re typically iconoclasts, which is why they sought a career as a designer (copywriter, or whatever) in the first place.

That said, it’s still possible to nail the first draft without making them totally hate you.

When I see a first draft, my first thought usually, “Oh my god. How are we ever going to do this.” It’s hard to do, but the first thing the creative director must do is put all aside all the effects, fonts, textures, and colors that creatives are so eager to pile on and focus on the essence of the work.

When all you’re doing is managing the essence of the work, not their taste, they’ll get over it when you ask them to remove an effect, change a font or color scheme. The criticism isn’t about their taste. It’s about a deeper issue… which is…

The essence of an advertisement

Let’s first define essence. Nicholas MacConnell has a definition that applies well here. Nicholas says essence is three things:

  1. Questions
  2. Actions or Statements
  3. Visualizations
For the first draft of the project, the first evaluations you need to make is:
  1. What are the questions my audience is asking?
  2. What is the 1 thing I am going to convince my audience to do?
  3. What imagery best serves #1 and #2?
I wish that I had never written this blog post because there is so much to be said about the essence of advertising, and I’m out of time. If want this intellectual journey to continue, please click on the picture of Plato to read about his idea of essence or post your spam-free comments below.
The philosopher Plato
"Plato thought what we see...is a dim reflection of the true ideal thing."

One thought on “Nail the first draft, you creative director… you

  1. One more thing… your ad should be eliciting questions FROM the reader as well. Not only answering them. The unfolding of actions that elicit questions are the basic building blocks of stories.

Leave a Reply