Once upon a time… work with the Creative Department was one of three reasons for my unhappiness during my time at the advertising agency. Creative Department seduces, Strategy gives a promise.
Client would always negotiate with the strategist not creatives. Thus, as it was me promising certain things would work a certain way, I always felt stressed out with responsibility – it MUST work. When I’d heard yet again that the Client’s colour is horrible, the font is banal, the product essentially disturbs the idea, that I am pain in a ass by “ not letting the creative energy realise”, that I have no idea and no imagination, that I haven’t finished the art school (so what do I know??), that I should defend them instead of taking the Client’s side, etc. I thought to myself, ‘I can’t take any more.’ Then it was another year when I could take some more. Two, and then three years. And then eight years later, the moment came when I really cannot stand it any more. I am done. And then I promised myself to be friends with the creatives but not to work with.
Obviously, with time my negativity was gone, but still didn’t want to work with them 😉 They are my friends, we go out for a dinner, wine and dancing; however, I do research and strategy for the Client who THAN pass it to creative and its Client – not me has to deal with PMS of the creative people.
Cannes started the process of healing my past; that’s where I saw a different type of creative process. I’ve realised that I had been simply unlucky or, more probably, I hadn’t been ready for this kind of job before, whereas now I am more open-minded and I see people who think with images rather than with the sales curve – differently.
That’s how I met F. Like other admiringly inspiring people he had a few qualities which made our contacts feel like holiday in the five star all-inclusive hotel just after being lost for a week in a desert without water (which isn’t that horrible as I don’t like to drink water) and without food (which is horrible as I love to eat).
– He maintains a healthy distance from his work and doesn’t treat advertising and communication as GOD but rather as a trampoline and an opportunity to create.
– He respects his goals but also goals of the people he works for; which means that his work is knockout, original and suggestive, and you want to run and buy a product even at 2 AM, you just can’t wait till morning.
– He can explain why it’s better to make such and such decision without the arguments like: it’s me who went to the art school, that’s BETTER because the other way is outdated, this font is illegible yet it is more blahblahblah…
– He simply has the arguments for when you ask about something, you have a feeling that each detail is carefully thought through. And such a combination of heart and brain in his work is something unusually appealing and stimulates not only imagination but also people it’s created for (calls usually consumers)
This all makes not only want to spend time with him, but also you dream about working with him.
F. is one of the people who rocks at the first conversation, when you feel you’re touching the genius and want to simply shut up (which is very rare for me) so you can listen as much as possible because you know that what he has to say possible you will not hear from anybody else… and you don’t want to miss such opportunity to learn something new. He’s one of these people, conversation with whom makes you so full of inspirations, ideas and energy that you want to change your logo, credentials or maybe even the whole business model… You regret you haven’t stolen the IKEA pencil and you don’t have anything to write down all the ideas buzzing inside you.
When F. showed me his work, he was looking at the screen and smiling. To himself. Simply smiling.
– Hey, F., do you know you’re smiling when you talk about your work? It’s as if you’re in love with what you’re doing.
– Well, yes… – he replied with the same smile. I AM.
I got to know just a few such people. One of his uniqueness comes from the fact that he’s not mannered, he doesn’t have the sense of superiority (or, even worse, of inferiority which often goes with aggression). Besides these qualities, there is one more thing common to all the people doing great in their professional lives – they are all very consistent with what they do in their life. They go so deep in the creative process that it is difficult to draw a line between them and their creation. I get the impression that each of them loves what they’re doing so much, they would probably do it even without money. But they are clever and organised enough to make it their job.
– I bet people love working with you. But it also must be difficult, considering how high you fly and your big demands.
– I think I am a pretty good boss. I don’t expect much, they just have to do fu*** amazing job. Is that too much to ask??
Not that much, actually… Only amazing, only fu*** amazing.
And that’s where a strategist meets creative, a researcher – an artist.
When most important thing that connects us is no acceptance for anything below FU*** AMAZING. Rest is irrelevant.
Fu*** amazing job. Whatever it is… Research, strategy, creative work or cleaning your desktop, if you start doing something – just do it right. The best you can.
F., besides being a good boss who doesn’t demand much, also showed me the difference between someone doing something well and someone doing something brilliantly (or LOVELY how is often saying). Sometimes a tiny difference makes a GREAT change. The best pizza comes from hot not almost hot oven.
Fluid definition of brilliance
The more brilliant someone is, the less constant his definition and standards – he upgrades them all the time. He constantly checks if it can get any better. He constantly pumps brilliance of all categories into himself and then redefines everything from the beginning.
In brilliance there is rebellion to everything that’s already set and been said before.
He doesn’t change it just to set the bar higher but to touch other areas of life, to be inspired, to absorb the stimuli from all over the world. His brilliance gene is changing, so his inner needs are changing too.
The difference between a good and a brilliant creator is the frequency of upgrading the standards. Good ones – upgrade is very frequent and abrupt. For brilliant creator – it’s a never-ending story. It’s like a tsunami wave you can’t stop – constantly, constantly, constantly upgrading. There is no beginning and no end.
It’s like an inner brilliance upgrade. Yesterday greatness is just not enough. People who were changing the world, others, and myself – are people who are always uncomfortable with anything that isn’t simply the best. Some have an inner critic, but some have an inner superman who says, ‘You can get higher, even higher, come on give it a try – you can do better, can’t you?’
The critic pulls them down sometimes but there is a Batman nearby who says, ‘Hey, you can’t do it? Are you scared? Seriously? Come on – you know – you CAN FLY!” So they jump. Sometimes before even they wings grow. And then… they stop, look at their work and they smile.
That’s why I believe that you should surround yourself with people cleverer and more talented than yourself so you can fly even higher. Not because you have to but because you can’t do it differently. Because anything below brilliance make you feel uncomfortable.
I also believe that ‘fu*** amazing’ is not too much to ask.
For everyone who likes to fly and touch the stars – it’s not an option, it’s the only way.
So next time someone says that your expectations are too much – think of F. He never thought the standard was too high, even when he was just starting out. A few years later he became one of the brightest stars at Cannes Lion – among creatives and clients.
If you want to be amazing – only fu*** amazing!
Everybody who knows Tosia knows she is totally amazing. Margaret Thatcher of fashion in Poland – strong and inspiring. RISK is LOVE brand that I love.
Vadim was the first one who really believed in Izmalkowa Consulting… and that gave me a lot of strength 10 years ago.
Sometimes I think that Miron genuinely doesn’t understand words like ‘not possible’ or ‘difficult’. He just doing it anyway. And Marysia – beautiful creative rebellion.
Basia – queen of content marketing – she is really PERFECT warrior at work. Funny, girly, but when working… there are no jokes.
With Ewa and Basia we create pretty amazing things for years. Ewa from Lowe Media always gives us the best briefs: ‘Lets to something incredible’. Basia, marketing director of ING, doesn’t accept anything that is not perfect!
Marcin and Paweł – engine of SAR – even on a beach while drinking we were discussing what to do so Polish can win more Cannes Lions.
Confidence is beautiful – I like new fashion in adverting, that is not only selling but changing mindset. Bravo for Ipsos.
I think Cannes is like mirror – you see what you are and what you ready to see. Some people see it’s show off, party and kissing ass. I see it’s opportunity to meet the most talented people in our field. And I meet F.
F. is not party person. He things it’s just too much and waste of time. I used to think about it too but after meeting him and other super talented people I start thinking that all of this celebration is to honor their talent, engagement and determination.
I am always touched the first days when I am in Cannes. It’s not my everyday life is not great, but here you experience the best every day and special days from all over the world.
39 Celsius – you really need to love it to sit outside because the hall was full.