This Year, Give Thanks for the Creatives

They’re the visionaries, the innovators and the problem-solvers

Hit refresh on your social media strategies. Head to Social Media Week in NYC this April 9–11 for campaign insights, content inspiration and new industry connections. Register before March 4 to save 20% on your pass.

As our November holiday approaches, we find ourselves reflecting on the many things we’re thankful for. As a long-time veteran of the ad business, I’m thankful for the creative people in this industry, who breathe life into campaigns and brands on a daily basis, despite ever-changing client priorities and challenging economic environments.

While many of us account people, strategists and media folk are indispensable teammates in this crazy business we’ve chosen, creatives are the heart and soul of our industry. They’re the visionaries, the innovators and the problem-solvers who craft compelling stories that captivate consumers’ imaginations and drive results for brands. Their resilience and dedication are what make this industry flourish.

And in the face of the growing chatter of AI overtaking the creative process, I want to take a moment to appreciate what creatives have brought—and will continue to bring—to our industry.

Resilience, the creative spirit’s armor

In the advertising world, resilience is the lifeblood that courses through the veins of every creative professional. Think about the countless pitches and concepts that never saw the light of day, the sleepless nights refining ideas and the determination to stand back up after being rejected time after time. These gifted thinkers have the ability to bounce back from rejection, adapt to ever-changing trends and continue to push the boundaries of communication.

Yet, while the best creative thinkers have built up this resilience—always thinking there’s another, better idea out there—it’s up to all of us to hold a healthy respect for their output, even if we don’t like it or maybe even disagree with it. Because, as much as we try to separate “the work” from the person who made it, we all should understand that the creation is a part of them, too. So, before you start hacking away at an idea, take a breath and understand the personal implications of tearing it apart.

The real job of a creative is problem-solving

Creativity and problem-solving go hand in hand in the world of advertising. Most creatives see each project as a puzzle waiting to be solved, with unique challenges that require creative solutions. This dedication to problem-solving is what makes creatives so special.
It’s also why they’re so annoyed when they’re told what to do. When we do that, we’re wasting their ability to look at the world through a different lens, find inspiration in unexpected places and design a solution that solves the problem in a way we may not have considered.

In a world where success is often measured by the ability to evolve and adapt, creatives typically lead the push for change and are often impatient that change isn’t occurring briskly enough. They’re typically more graceful than many of us are in navigating the dynamic landscape of technology, culture and consumer preferences when too many of us are looking backward, clinging to what worked before.

Creatives also often take the lead in finding ways to address broader societal issues, using their talents to shed light on or clarify complex, important topics, from environmental sustainability to social justice. They aren’t just selling products; they’re helping to shape the cultural conversation, pushing for change and inspiring others to think critically about the world around them.

Maintaining humanness and breathing life into data

Finally, in a world where data and analytics play a significant role in our marketing, we must not forget the human perspective that creatives bring daily. Data may inform our strategies, but it’s creativity that breathes life into those strategies. The soul of our industry is in the stories we tell and the emotions we stir.

So this year, I’m giving a shout-out to creatives. I appreciate how your work makes people feel connected, inspired and understood, creating bonds between brands and consumers that transcend mere transactions, transforming them into enduring relationships. I appreciate how your resilience in the face of adversity and your dedication to problem-solving make our industry stronger.

And, finally, I’m just grateful that you’ve let me play along for all these years.