I just heard that an agency has a ‘Head of Inspiration’.

This is apparently someone who is in charge of an entire ‘Inspiration Department’.

This is apparently the department whose job it is to give the creative department inspiration.

At first sight this seems like a good idea.

And it may be.

But let’s just check it out for a second.

Creatives (copywriters and art directors, in old money) once used to have the job of coming up with ideas.

Ideas about everything.

The better you were the more ideas about everything you had.

Ideas about how the client should sell their product.

Ideas about how they should package it.

Ideas about how they should make it.

Ideas about their company’s vision.

Nowadays these things aren’t called ideas.

Now they’re called strategy.

And creatives aren’t allowed to get anywhere near them.

Nowadays they are the private property of the Planning Department.

The Planning Department is now the only department allowed to have ‘strategic’ ideas.

So, unless you’re called a Planner, don’t even think about it.

We don’t want to know.

And that’s how The Creative Department outsourced one of its roles.

Creatives used to have great ideas about media.

When a campaign would work better on posters than TV.

Or in ambient than in press.

Not anymore.

Media is an independent function now.

The client buys media before they get anywhere near the agency.

The client walks in with a brief that includes the media plan he decided with the Media Independent before he even briefed the agency.

So we don’t want your opinion about that either.

Then there’s executing the ad.

Some agencies have Music Departments.

These are specifically designed to negotiate fees, suggest tracks to creatives, steer them in a certain direction.

Add that to the fact that many agency producers now choose the director.

Whoever is really hot and exciting.

Now all the creatives have to do is write a script that this director finds interesting and challenging.

And if they get it right, he’ll shoot the script for them.

So where do we net out?

Creatives can’t have any creative ideas about strategy.

They’d better not have any creative ideas about media.

No creative ideas about directors or music.

Are we still allowed creative ideas about photographers and illustrators?

Hmmmm, to a point.

And now, finally, a department in charge of inspiration.

Now there’s someone outside the creative department in charge of that.

Remind me, why do they call it the ‘creative’ department?

It won’t be long before the creative isn’t allowed to have any ideas about ideas.

I don’t think we have a job anymore.

I think we’ve been outsourced.