My favourite blog is AdContrarian.com.
It’s written, Monday to Friday, by Bob Hoffman who owns and runs an agency in San Francisco.
At least it used to be.
Bob just stopped writing.
He said he’s fed up writing about advertising every day.
Burned out, dried up.
That’s a real shame.
Reading the AdContrarian was my daily dose of getting back in touch with reality.
There’s more bullshit in our business than in most other businesses.
And it’s usually just someone not very good trying to jump on the bandwagon of whatever’s currently fashionable.
And what’s fashionable is news.
So it gets a lot of coverage.
And, as with all fashion, most people can’t sift the good from the bad.
Bob was very good at cutting through this.
Not just with rhetoric.
But facts and figures, names, dates, concrete results.
That’s why I’ve directed so many people to his site.
He is the little boy pointing out that the emporer isn’t actually wearing any clothes.
But there’s something more important than that I like.
I like his style of writing, whether it’s about advertising or not.
No nonsense, fast, punchy, and witty.
And that’s why I think it’s a shame he’s stopped.
For me there are two requirements from anything I read.
I have to learn something.
Or I have to be entertained.
If I’m not getting either of those two, why would I keep reading?
From the AdContrarian I usually got both.
But I never got less than one.
So here’s a thing.
Why does he have to stop writing, just because he’s fed up with writing about advertising?
The best advertising works because it’s creative.
You can find creativity everywhere.
And we can all learn from creativity wherever we find it.
I can learn lessons about creativity from Mohammed Ali, Mike Tyson, Max Baer, Vince Lombardi, Billy Beane, Brian Clough, Tony Adams, Jackie Stewart, Bill Shankley, Napoleon, Nelson, Heinz Guderian, Michael Wittmann, Willy Messerschmitt, Woody Allen, George Carlin, Rupert Murdoch, Richard Branson, Winston Churchill, Norman Tebbitt, Tony Benn, Pablo Picasso, Damien Hirst, Tintoretto, Orson Welles, Alfred Hitchcock, Clint Eastwood, Steven Spielberg, William of Ockham, Jean Paul Sartre, and Ernie Bilko.
All of these guys said or did something that made me go, “Wow, I wish I’d thought of that.”
Just look at the cover of the Sergeant Pepper album.
That’s The Beatles putting all their creative influences in one photograph.
And that was something I pored over at art school.
Why did John, Paul, and George like those people?
What was good about them?
I wanted to know what I could learn from them.
Whatever excites us will probably be something really clever.
And if we think it’s clever it’s probably because it’s creative.
And if it’s creative we can learn from it.
It’ll be good to read.
We don’t have to write about advertising.
Although advertising can be very creative, it isn’t the only form of creativity.
It’s applied creativity.
And there are lots of other forms of applied creativity.
So where else can we find it being applied?
What else took our breath away when we heard or saw it?
And what can we learn from it?
What can we take away and use?
Join up the dots.