May 10 2022

The Cookie Cutter Creative Economy

In a sea of sameness it’s getting easier to stand out as an amazing creative talent.

First came Clip Art and Corel, then Canva, and now everyone’s a designer.

Next came Webflow, Duda, WIX, and Squarespace and now you’re a web developer.

Personally I thank the DIY Gods of self-serve SaaS that this is the case and here's why.

In the battle for businesses to get noticed with the least impact on time or the bottom line, there is a natural attraction to cutting corners, to go cheap. Cheap with soulless generic-looking Fiverr style clip art brands and self-build websites. This might sound a bit mad but this is great for business, real business, stay with me.

You see in the frenzy to look kinda half decent on the cheap, a void is created for real business to be done by businesses who care about what they produce and want it reflected in what their agency, in turn, produces for them. 

These quick and dirty DIY options have created a vacuum for serious production talent, tools, and techniques. A place of calm where creativity is considered, crafted, and curated. Where proper amounts of thought, strategy, and technical intelligence are brought to bear on projects. Be it a brand, a campaign, a website, or an app. The design thinking, the big idea, and the execution are well thought out, the customer journey is understood and a plan is hatched to make something, well something special.

Why is this important? Because people, humans seek, enjoy, and remember quality.

Outside the echo chamber of advertising people aren’t agency folk, they’re regular folk.  Regular folk do not think in terms of a target audience, demographics, behavioral attitudes, or cost per acquisition. Rarely do regular folk appreciate being treated as a number when expected to part with their hard-earned money. Regular folk who spend their hard-earned cash on your clients' products invariably enjoy experiencing quality in every part of life. Regular folk, like agency folk, enjoy being made to feel special.

Who doesn’t enjoy that little bit of extra ‘surprise + delight’ that a special experience offers to lift our spirits? It may give us something to think, talk, text, or post about, it may make us feel relevant for a minute that lasts the rest of the day. People don’t get that from vanilla, cookie-cutter, jelly-mold-on-a-conveyor production line design churn marketing, they get it from something else, something special.

The sea of sameness that is swamping the internet, stuffing our inboxes, and surging on social media provides proper creatives, real advertising agencies with proper creativity and production objectives a massive opportunity to cut through the shite and be amazing

“It shouldn't take much effort to make that [thing]”, says client A. 

Bullshit client A - it does take effort, it should - it’s difficult work and you should be thanking us for putting that effort in. We need to be clever, careful, and pay attention to the fine detail of what we’re producing . . . for you. 

“Is that level of UX absolutely necessary? I have a niece who made her site in WIX”, says client A.

Absolutely quality is necessary. It may be time to hunt for a better client.

Ad agency clients deserve a level of amazing that transcends what a free app can offer. As an industry we’re surely not in the business of pushing pixels around, we’re tasked with influencing human minds. These are humans we’ll probably never meet face to face so to change their minds from afar is a magical thing, it takes intelligence, passion, care, and capabilities that the audience can sense. Ideas, messages, and production values, that keep people wanting more. People wanting more of a human experience from other humans, to appreciate the endeavor, the thinking that occurred to create that astonishing thing called a creative campaign, an ad, a website.

That’s what I want to see more of in Adland, not a race to the bottom with cookie cutters, jelly molds, and conveyors. 

Creativity is a craft. Cookie cutters are for making biscuits.

Ever wonder what you could make if there were no limits?