Moody elite need to get a creative grip

I applaud Iain Murray’s advice to the industry’s creative leaders to keep their mouths shut in the wider world for fear of muddling everyone else (“Confused world of creativity,” MW July 15). But his analysis of their state of mind is flawed.

There are two basic reasons for the self-absorbed neurosis of the creative elite.

First, the fact that these industry Maharishis can spend five days at a “creative summit” in Sunderland in September disappearing up their own fundamentals, suggests they spend little time actually creating and most of their time just talking about it.

I suspect that many of these leaders – lionised for their past achievements – have now promoted themselves to executive creative roles and are out of touch with the creative departments they serve.

No wonder they see the creative world as unreliable, elitist and incapable of free thinking. After all, the higher you climb up the greasy pole, the more you feel your own bottom is exposed to view.

Secondly, in this smoke and mirrors business, the word “creative” has been badly misappropriated. And that can all too easily lead to a state of terminal insecurity among its principal exponents.

The very suggestion that you can put a promotional scratchcard in the same league as The Venus de Milo has always been laughable. Art directors, copywriters and hands-on creative directors don’t have any trouble with that thought or believe that it stifles originality. For them, it does not trigger an existential nightmare.

The only people who get insecure are the creative elite – whose sole task it is to stand up and make grandiose claims about industry “creativity” while knowing that to succeed, it has to plunder popular culture, not lead it.

What accounts for the moody self-analysis among the creative industry’s great and good is that the truth hurts. Which leads me to this simple piece of psychotherapeutic advice: c’mon guys, get a grip.

Dan Douglas

Creative director

DP&A

London W1

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