I just wanted to write a quick follow-up on my post about leaving the ad industry. I wrote the post quickly last Thursday evening, and on Friday I left for a long weekend out of town with limited internet access. When I came back on Monday afternoon - all I can say is wow. Apparently the subject matter really resonated with people, because this is by far the most interaction I’ve ever had with a post I’ve written.
Some quick stats (as of 6/19 4:51pm EST):
- The post received 1,829 unique page views, with the average viewer spending 5:22 on the page
- On Tumblr, 28 people liked the post, 8 reblogged it, and 14 commented (of these, 3 were negative)
- 125 people tweeted about the post (interestingly, all the Twitter feedback was positive)
- There was also lots of discussion on Facebook, with 21 total comments on my original post as well as that of a few people who reposted the article
As you can see from above, the vast majority of the feedback I’ve received was positive. However, a few of the negative comments raised some valid points I wanted to acknowledge.
On creative departments - A lot of people speculated that my criticism was based on bad experiences working with creative individuals, which isn’t the case. I’ve been fortunate to have a great working relationship with many AD/CWs, at Grey and elsewhere. My criticism was not of individuals or personalities, but of a structure - a structure that, I believe, makes good work harder for non-“Creatives” and “Creatives” alike.
Digital creativity comes from many roles: user experience, design, marketing, strategy, community management, technology, and, yes - art direction and copywriting. Taking two of those functions and slapping the label “Creative” on them while taking that label off everyone else just makes no sense. Creativity is bigger than images and words, and it should be everyone’s job.
- On making things - One person mentioned that at the end of the day, creatives are the ones making the work, which is why they should have more say than anyone else. In my opinion, this doesn’t hold water. A community manager is the one “making the work” for day-to-day social interactions. A developer is the one “making the work” for websites. And, while we’re at it, a director is the one “making the work” for TV commercials. Hands-on means a lot, but collaboration means more.
- On giving up - Someone mentioned that I was in a position to make a change and that I gave up. That’s actually fair. Work isn’t everything - we have to think about our personal sanity as well, which is why leaving advertising is the right decision for me.
If I were to take one thing away from this whole experience, it’s that a lot of people are feeling discomfort with the way the advertising industry currently works, and that the issue deserves further discussion.
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