“The street is 50 per cent of the art. You engage with the architecture and make it seem like it’s supposed to be there”
I’ve taken to borrowing the words of graffiti artist Stik to explain what it is I do exactly.
Now I’m not getting any ideas above my station regarding talent or making powerful social commentary, but Stik’s sentiment of ‘ideas in context’ is pretty useful for translating the role of a creative in a media agency to people down the pub.
That I have to resort to segues about street art is precisely why context is so important. Our ideas don’t matter unless they’re seen. Unless they’re relevant to people’s lives. I could spend my life writing wickedly smart copy for press ads only for my friends to sit on them, in someone’s discarded Metro. I could come up with world-changing ideas that my family only get when I show them the sexy case study video. Or I could endeavour to make work where people — where they are and what they’re doing — are 50 per cent part of the idea.
The strength of some of the most interesting recent ideas rests on their context. Chanel’s stylish appearance on Tumblr to showcase its entry-level beauty products to a younger audience. The Art Fund creating Happn profiles to encourage cultural dates. ‘It’s Not OK’ demonstrating that domestic violence isn’t just an issue for the down and out with a visual PSA in an upmarket interiors magazine.
All unexpected. All dependent on their surroundings – none would have worked half as well anywhere else. They’ve engaged with the media and made it seem like they’re supposed to be there.
This is why a creative opportunity in a media agency is exciting. The job role inherently implies that the how and where (media) is as important as the what (creative). It’s not as easy to explain as ‘I make adverts’ but I’ve got Stik to help with that. Thanks Stik.