Wilde reading

(Image courtesy of exp.lore.com)

A smart guy I know once told me something that made me laugh.

He’s very smart, if a little embittered.

You know, like media planners can be.

He said this about ad agencies:

Account people wish they were planners.

Planners wish they were creatives.

And creatives wish they were film directors.

We laughed because it seemed to sum something about the hierarchy ad agencies can sometimes be perceived to have.

But it also captured the (I think very healthy, actually) self-loathing that people in advertising have for their chosen discipline.

Or perhaps we should say, the discipline imposed upon them.

Because generally, a good media planner probably wants to think with levers bigger than just media.

An ad planner is striving for ideas that can and do live outside TV advertising.

A PR planner wants to think beyond media relations.

Really, at heart, everyone involved wants to make culture.

And brands and ideas are just the way that people in advertising are able to do it.

So I say, great.

We should all have an ambition to be – or have been – something else.

Because the cultural niche we’re trying to carve out for ourselves – within our team, organisation or client relationships – is what helps us bring something different, unique and subjective to the briefs we work on.

It’s what gives us our point of view.

Striving to be bigger, outside or beyond is our job.

The interests we pursue through choice are what help us when we’re constrained by the expectation of others.

Which is just a rubbish paraphrase of Wilde, really.

“What you read when you don’t have to determines what you’ll be when you can’t help it.”