Sunday, September 20, 2009

Creativity and Politics


Obama controls the creative product. Don't believe me? Have a look at history, particularly 1950 through 1960, when America lived through a similar political environment. The Bush administration representing 1950s McCarthyism secrecy and Cold War propaganda and the Obama administration representing the crucial 1960 switch to modern influence and creative expression. We are teetering on this brink of creative expressionism right now. How we use it as creatives is key. First the history lesson, care of Al Filreis thinking and Howard Zinn's A People's History of the United States:
During the early 1950s there was a clash of militant economy and socialist idealism. A desire among conservatives to hold steadfast to the prosperous war economy where industry and war manufacturers saw global growth juxtaposed with a desperation among liberals to institute a new, inwardly-focused, secure life for the people. Zinn called this a reliance on a "permanent war economy." This is the division so tangible now. Bush-era control of the people and the spread of fear supplanted with Obama idealism, radical financial programming and fearless, open globalism.

Now, in advertising, we see a similar shift. Our creative community is going through this very same change. Traditionalists, or oldster advertising models, some whom held to the past and even instituted campaigns around the fear of the unknown are being replaced by seemingly radical visionaries -- actionable new thinking -- true digital leaders. The division is so tangible. Either heels planted firmly in the ground, or shoulders leaning forward into the wheel. There is no creative centrism. You're either there or not. You're either a living futurist or a faithful traditionalist.

The crowdsourcing debate of late led by creative folks such as Alex Bogusky, Edward Boches, and Crowdspring founder, Ross Kimbarovsky (now that's a commie name for you, McCarthyists!) is a key example of the virulent debate. Fear of change vs. belief in change. There will be a growing audience of believers -- think Kennedy's Camelot aura. The dream for us, however, is radical creative. A belief in possibility. An open creative environment. Agencies and clients working together to reach the moon. 1960. 2009.

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