Do strategists and creatives need to rethink their relationship?

Advertising has changed – and so has the role of planners. Rob Gray asks whether it’s time to rethink who is responsible for creative ideas

“It’s pretty obvious why normal people hate advertising. It’s simply because most of it is cringe-worthy nonsense. And for various reasons, it’s getting worse. In fact, I’m becoming heartily sick of beardy strategic-types with stupid job titles, telling me how ‘game-changing’ and ‘totally awesome’ the ‘brand ecosystem’ is these days. Er, no it totally isn’t. It’s 99.99% garbage.” These were the words of renowned creative director Paul Belford in a previous issue of Creative Review.

I was recently asked to give a talk to an audience of creatives. While scratching my head wondering what a Strategy Partner could say that would be of interest to them, I remembered this article, which I’d cut out and kept. As a ‘strategic-type’ myself (although not a beardy one), it pains me not to totally disagree with Paul. However, if it’s not working then we must take responsibility for doing something about it. We should be the experts in creating great work. We control the job roles, the people we hire and the graduates we train. None of this is forced upon us by clients. What must they think to hear us having a pop at each other? If this is an accurate barometer for how we feel about each other, then perhaps it’s time we attended marriage counselling.