Every now and again a project comes along that makes the whole commercial creative thing “worth it.” I mean, when a client is paying your rate, it’s almost always worth it on a transactional level, but as the great Paula Scher points it out, when you do it just for the money, it’s never enough money. So it’s nice to be involved with work that connects to something deeper on some level.
Sometimes that’s a social issue, and I’ve been fortunate to have been involved in a number of projects that are driven by creative that encourages positive behaviors rather than “just” selling stuff. Other times, it’s about creating work that has its own intrinsic aesthetic value that happens to be in the service of a business/initiative goal. That’s rarer (or has been for me).
This project for Google Arts & Culture and South African Tourism is definitely in the latter category. The brief was to create a video to add an emotional layer to the experience. We knew a generic ‘ad copywriter aspirational manifesto’ wouldn’t be interesting, it needed to be authentic which means it needed to be specific. Because she is a poet and not a copywriter, Siphokazi Jonas was able to bring a much needed point of view that we were able to bring to life.
Let’s make something beautiful? (Turn on the sound)
I think it’s sometimes hard to demonstrate practical creativity in a meaningful way. After all, the function of creative in a marketing context is to engage the audience enough to get the message, which is not always aligned with the business objective. A lot of “bad” advertising is the result of prioritizing the marketer’s priorities over the audience’s. A lot of “great” advertising is just about making a nugget of content worth experiencing and then tagging a logo at the end. (Geico notoriously does this well.)
Here I just wanted to make something pretty for a promotional piece where “beautiful’ was the message.
As part of virtual testing, I did a Q&A with the festival organizers wherein we chatted themes, process, and the symbolism of Three Women.
It was a lovely chat though in retrospect, I wish I had art directed my environment and trimmed my beard. #liveandLearn