Creative is an Adjective.

In the last 30 years I’ve performed every job in the agency save the nouveau tasks of web programmer, including but not limited to account service, new business, copywriting, design, art direction, dealmaker, production artist, accounting clerk, planner, bill collector and even a brief stint at our genesis as the janitor. So, it’s with these creds that I weigh in on this subject fully insulated from any criticism that this is just the rant of a so-called “suit.”

It has always bugged me that the advertising industry, home to so many worthy wordsmiths, could permit the adjective creative to be expropriated by a single discipline and used as a noun, as in a creative, or the creative. In this business we’re all equipped and expected to be creative, with the notable exception of the accounting department since Sarbanes-Oxley.

I’m on Mark Twain kick in my reading right now, and I came upon this selection from one of his early works, The Innocents Abroad. It more or less sums up my POV on the matter, and hope it offers inspiration to you, wherever you may sit at GyroHSR or among our followers:

“What is it that confers the noblest delight? What is that which swells a man’s breast with pride above that which any other experience can bring to him? Discovery! To know that you are walking where none others have walked; that you are beholding what human eye has not seen before; that you are breathing a virgin atmosphere. To give birth to an idea — to discover a great thought — an intellectual nugget, right under the dust of a field that many a brain-plow had gone before. To find a new planet, to invent a new hinge, to find the way to make the lightnings carry your messages. To be the first — that is the idea. To do something, say something, see something, before any body else — these are the things that confer a pleasure compared with which other pleasures are tame and commonplace, other ecstasies cheap and trivial.” (The Innocents Abroad, Mark Twain, 2003 Modern Library Paperback Edition, Random House, Inc., NY)

Ours is a creative business with potentially creative people in every area of the agency. Let our artists and authors keep their noun, but may the rest of us reclaim the adjective.

Rick Segal
Chief Executive, North America
Global Practice Leader, B-to-B Marketing