Thursday, October 4, 2012

The power of pressure

I read this quotation by Kia's marketing director, Michael Sprague in today's New York Times and was not in the least bit surprised.
“Our agency does best when they’re put under an incredible deadline pressure,” he said. “Great ideas bubble up under stress.”
I could go into all kinds of stale metaphors here, but what it really boils down to is something I've known my whole career:

Without a deadline there is no creativity.

I'm not arguing that clients should set artificially tight deadlines just to watch the writers and art directors squirm. But if you're going to start planning your next Super Bowl campaign in March, you should set a number of checkpoints along the way that force your agency to bring you concrete ideas early and often.

Unlike we're lead to believe in the movies, generating ideas is not all freewheeling and game playing waiting for the "aha" moment. It takes focus and discipline to generate the hundreds of ideas necessary to get to the one that will work best.

That doesn't mean the process can't be fun. But it is rarely easy.

Deadlines are what push us past the expected solutions, past the half-baked ideas to something different, unique and relevant.

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