A BLOGGER ON PLANNING
Any great Creative is a great planner.The most important part of a big idea is the thought behind it: a new and original way of linking that product/benefit to the audience. That's the clever bit. Obviously some Creatives do it better than others, hence the fact that not all Creatives do great work. But you'll find that those who do are insightful strategic thinkers as well as Copywriters, Art Directors or both. (I.e., Dave Droga; Leo Premutico; Ben Nott; Matthew Keon - just to name a few examples from Australia, although sadly they're all now working anywhere but Australia.)
When the process of generating great creative work is broken down into a segmented production line - and the strategic creative thought is generated by the Planning Department (often with the help of Account Service) - you'll never get the best work from a great Creative, because you're robbing them of the most important part of their job: new, original thinking. When Creatives are reduced to being just Copywriters and/or Art Directors this industry is going to lose all its great Creative thinkers - because for these people, craft will never be enough. They'll either end up finding real opportunities to use their talent overseas; or they'll leave the industry to write and direct films, write books, invent products etc - they'll continue to look for ways of integrating their passion for original creative thinking with their ability to craft and shape an idea.
So let's think about what we're doing to the role of the Creative while we're defining the role of the Planner. Because the current debate about the role of Planning in Australia suggests that it's the Planner who should come up with the 'big idea', leaving it to the Creatives to just find the execution, write the copy direct the artwork. Therefore, either our Planners need to top AWARD School; or we need to allow Creatives to develop the creative thinking that links the product/benefit to the audience and, subsequently, generate the big idea.
One effective way of working could be to have great Planners (who know the product and the audience) working collaboratively with great Creatives (who solve problems with new ideas) to find original ways of communicating the product/benefit to the audience?
Or alternatively, perhaps we should combine the two departments into a Strategic Creative Department whereby everyone's responsible for understanding the product/audience, innovative strategic thinking, great creative craftsmanship and selling the idea.
But breaking the process down into a production line of unfulfilling, non-creative pigeonholes isn't the answer. If we take the ability to think away from the Creative Department, this industry is going to continue to lose its best talent to other markets or other vocations.