Creative Director’s Choice gives creative directors a chance to highlight the work they think is the best out in the ad world — the ads and campaigns they believe are making a difference.
Is creativity universal? Is it glamorous? If I had been asked these questions years ago, I probably would have replied “if only” to the first question and “totally” to the second. So many of us regard creativity as a special blessing reserved for a lucky few. As I’ve continued my work as a creative director, my own understanding of creativity has evolved quite a bit. I believe we are all capable of creativity – just look at children playing and creating for proof. I know for a fact that creativity isn’t always glamorous. The end product of creativity? The shiny, polished finish line? Totally. That’s where the glamour lives. But the creative process itself is often hard, slow, and alienating. It’s also wildly rewarding and totally worth it.
Looking back, I can recognize that I had rarely seen myself reflected in images of artists and creators while growing up. I certainly didn’t see advertisements that showed empowered women deep in their own world designing and making art.
Walking through the New York subway recently, I caught sight of a series of larger-than-life prints of women working diligently behind their MacBook computers, their faces alighted with that familiar Apple glow, their eyes focused. The words 'Behind the Mac' appeared in the top corner of the print.
Apple’s ‘Behind the Mac’ campaign features a spectrum of creatives – putting the spotlight on people of all ages, races, genders, and creative professions. But the focus of the campaign is not the result of their creative pursuits. The focus is the person, their grit and devotion to the work. The focus is on the act of doing the work itself.
It’s not particularly glamorous. The lighting and staging are utterly ordinary. But it is seriously inspiring.
And that’s because we – this diverse world of creative minds – are able to see ourselves in the ads. Their simplicity and inclusivity create space for a multitude of similar stories to be told. They speak to the notion that creativity can come from anyone, anywhere. The campaign also acknowledges the very real fact that the creative process isn’t always easy.
We’re becoming increasingly wise to the importance of representation in media. We understand that media has the power to empower – and that it’s our job to reflect the real, diverse world around us and do our part to give people a voice and an opportunity to feel seen and heard.
The reality, however, is that few big-name brands succeed in reflecting this vibrant spectrum in their ads. They often leave out older generations or only show one or two skin tones. So, to see so much diversity in one campaign is not only refreshing, it’s extremely inspiring.
Putting this out into the world is empowering for the next generation to be able to see themselves as artists, creatives, makers, and problem solvers. The genius of this campaign is in its stripped simplicity. It tells us that the power to create something special is in our capable hands.
Alex Kolbe is creative director at brand consultancy In Good Co.
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To see the latest creative ads and campaigns, visit The Drum’s Creative Works section. If you would like to feature a creative director in our Creative Director’s Choice, please contact Creative Works editor Kyle O’Brien.