There’s a lot I like about Mad Men. The characters, the art direction and naturally, the brilliant one-liners from Roger Sterling:
“She died like she lived. Surrounded by the people she answered phones for.“ (Season 4, Episode 9)
“Well, I gotta go learn a bunch of people’s names before I fire them.” (Season 4, Episode 12)
As brilliant as the Roger character is, Don Draper gets most of the attention. In fact, when someone outside of the business finds out I work in advertising, they’ll innocently ask, “Who are you on Mad Men?” I can see them waiting in anticipation, hoping I respond ‘Don Draper’ so they can pull out tired jokes about his philandering, binge boozing, and heavy addiction to butts.
The reality is this: Don Draper doesn’t exist anymore. (Hell, he hardly existed in the 60’s).
And it’s not because smoking is prohibited or because the only drinking allowed is the 10am shot of Diet Coke.
No, being a Creative Director is a pretty tough job these days. Here’s a couple of reasons why.
The Left Brain Coup.
Whether it’s an endless parade of focus groups or an expectation of specific ROI, the left brainers have a lot more clout these days. It’s not right. And it’s not wrong. It’s just different. On one hand, a Creative Director is expected to deliver original, breakthrough ideas that have never been done before. On the other, ROI forecasting is only possible when you measure ideas against everything that has been done before.
Diverse Clients, Diverse Needs.
Draper had it easy. He only had to master TV, print, and a couple of billboards. As a trusted consultant, a CD in 2010 should be able to advise clients on the latest opportunities and how to best leverage emerging channels. But it’s tough to be an expert on anything when one client needs a DM piece and another needs an Android app.
In 2010, clients cut budgets as they responded to economic realities in North America. That put a lot of pressure on Creative Directors to sell more, push more, win more, and accept more. As a good friend and Creative Director of an international agency said to me recently, “I’ve never worked so hard for so little.”
Tune in tomorrow and I’ll share a couple more.
+ Be sure to read more about this in Jeromy Lloyd’s piece, “Rumbles in the Jungles”, in the upcoming Marketing Magazine.
In addition, I’m hosting a panel discussion of some of Canada’s top Creative Directors on the subject, “It’s not really fun anymore.”
It’ll be available in video form next week through Marketing. If you have any questions that you’d like me to ask them, leave them in the comments below.