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‘Great ideas don’t go anywhere unless you can sell them’: Campfire’s Mike Monello on what it takes to be a great creative

The Drum recently caught up with Campfire’s founder and chief creative officer Mike Monello to find out what the thinks it takes to be a great creative.

Monello, who was one of the producers of the wildly popular 1999 movie “The Blair Witch Project,” thinks that great creatives possess three key attributes: boundless curiosity, the ability to sell, and an investment in how their work is perceived once it is released into the world.

For Monello, being a great creative means having a strong sense of curiosity and constantly asking “why?”

“When you start asking why someone is doing something or why people are behaving in a certain way, you go down these rabbit holes and you learn things,” he said. “And you come back and you imbue that learning into the work you’re doing. That’s what’s tends to push work into really interesting and new directions.”

He also believes great creatives don’t just come up with ideas – they know how to sell them, too.

“Great ideas don’t go anywhere unless you can sell them,” he said. “I think you have to be able to take your idea and then sell it to your collaborators, your partners, and to your clients.”

Lastly, Monello thinks that anyone who wants to be a great creative should always focus on the end result of their work and the response that it ultimately provokes instead of getting caught up in the process of creating the work itself.

“A lot of people are interested in the making of something. That’s the craft, and that’s important, but I think at the end of the day, what drives that desire to be great at the craft is finally realizing that the work isn’t complete until it’s in front of people.”

Monello founded Campfire in 2006 and has since worked with brands including HBO, the Discovery Channel, Verizon, and Infiniti. The SapientNitro-owned shop focuses on helping brands create buzz and engagement. Recently, it won a Silver Clio for a social media campaign it created for National Geographic to help the channel spread the word about the television premiere of “He Named Me Malala.”

His full interview with The Drum can be viewed above. Find out what Keri Elmsly, chief creative officer of Portland-based Second Story, said when we asked her what it takes to be a great creative.

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Minda Smiley

Minda Smiley is a reporter at The Drum covering creativity and advertising. Based in Philadelphia, she oversees creativity coverage in North & South America and runs The Drum’s weekly “US Creative Works” roundup. During her time at The Drum, she has covered industry events including SXSW, ANA Masters of Marketing, 4A’s Transformation and C2 Montréal and has interviewed dozens of creatives for The Drum’s “What does it take to be a great creative?” video series.

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