Even the Artsiest Art Director has got to be Interested in Greece, Right?
July and August, so say journalists and journalism training schools, is silly season. Lots of fun stories about puppies with their paws stuck down the drain – you know the drill. Nothing is supposed to happen right now – that’s the unwritten rule. But – oh what – the US passes its equal marriage act and Greece goes all Randall McMurphy. We entreat you all to enjoy your summers but, wow, stuff is happening.
There are lessons – tenuous and multiple – to be learned from what’s going on in Greece right now. The recent vote shows how unpredictable the world economy is these days – and how energetic and unpredictable real people can be. There’s a Scottish word, ‘thrawn’, which captures the will of the people and it’s a concept that I think strategists and creatives and marketers and all the rest need to get their heads around. Sure you can nudge people, you can prod them, you can suggest things… but people ain’t little Lego men. It links back to the Scottish referendum (soz, I just can’t help myself) – sometimes momentum builds that we don’t quite expect.
The Greek referendum may seem like a European issue but I reckon agencies and strategists around the world will be keeping their eye on it, even if they don’t think they’re directly affected. There’s an assumption, in a lot of the work I see, that people are nervy and young people are ultra jittery, thanks to job insecurity and housing stress. But nonetheless young people are coming out in the streets (and polling booths) to say ‘y’know what, no, actually’. We can pontificate and ponder about ‘realistic expectations’ from here till dawn but the point we, as an industry need to accept, is that people are fed up and are deciding to jump the tram tracks, are happy for something a little less predictable.
In the States, Bernie Sanders is growing bit by bit amongst democrats and last year the Scottish independence referendum was closer to the 50-50 mark than any of the forecasters would like to admit. Whatever your political inclination, there’s got to be something kind of exhilarating about the ‘surprises’ of world politics. No one got into the creative industries to do the same old shit, after all.
For advertising there’s a scary cloud that’s been generated – all the predictable patterns have been, if not disrupted, seriously shoogled (I really should bring out a thesaurus of Scottish colloquialisms, it would be dead handy and so saleable... I think).
For what it’s worth – and from a weird, Christian-Bale-In-American-Psycho point of view – I think it’s a really interesting time for creatives and strategists. Things are not working as we’d expect, demographic splits are pretty unexpected and politics and economics are working people up more than a half price sofa sale. And I’m finding I have to rethink my socio-economic philosophy every day. It’s equally troubling and challenging and, ultimately, I’m trying as best I can to figure out where we’re going.
If you work in advertising it might feel like you’re in some hideous snow-globe right now (which way’s up? What’s that sparkly stuff?)… but think of all the glitter.