Oh man. I’ve been battling a whopper of a digital brief lately. The assignment is nothing special, but it’s one of those “make some banners now and make the idea big enough so we can launch a new campaign from it.” So, you know, no pressure. Yet it’s been a tough nut to crack. And every day, I’m getting my ass kicked by this piece of paper. My team and I think and scribble and think and play online and think some more. Every night around 9ish, our ideas look pretty good. And around 9ish the next morning, they suck. So we start over. I look at the brief for the millionth time. “This brief’s a piece of shit,” one of us says as it’s tossed across the room. I walk around the office for signs of inspiration and leftover meeting food (there isn’t any). I return to my desk. I look at the brief again. Except it doesn’t look like a brief any more. It’s a time bomb. There are wires. So many wires. What do I do? This thing’s gonna blow. I’m frustrated. Stuck. I start the litany of “if onlys” such as “if only we had a bigger budget…if only we had some sound…if only we had a celebrity voice over…” If only I wasn’t such being a whiner. Briefs like this aren’t solved by whiners. They’re solved by MacGyvers. Someone who can look danger in the eye and beat it with nothing but a paper clip, sandpaper and lemon juice. Sometimes, that MacGyver fella has got to be you. Grab your needlenose pliers and save the day.
Not all assignments go smoothly. Some make no sense whatsoever. Frequently, the “figuring it out” part is saved for the creatives. Lucky you. No one knows how it’ll turn out. And yet, through the fate of the cosmos, this enigma of a riddle ended up on your desk. Whining, venting and complaining don’t move the deadline. Who said what we do is easy? Who said it was fair? Who said every assignment would be awesome? We are taxed to find the answer. Somehow. If we value our jobs. We burn the midnight oil. We burn the midday oil. We load up on caffeine and sugar. We fart around on YouTube looking for inspiration. We do what we do till the ideas flow. Then we have the rest of our careers to wonder why we didn’t do it differently.
MacGyver wasn’t a whiner. He got out of every mess looking like a champ. He would have made a good ad guy. Then again, he never had to deal with client bureaucracy, Facebook and impractical banner sizes. Still, I bet he’d make it to the closing credits, looking awesome, as his mullet victoriously flaps in the wind after saving the day, yet again, just in time for the local news.
Brad Mislow drank waaaay too much coffee today.