Literally so lateral – The direct journey
By Max Lom-Bor
The fight between lateral expression, extreme logic and logical nonsense rages on.
The temptation to choose an execution ‘style’ plagues me with indecision, as does everything else in this world. You see, you can be smart, stupid smart, too smart, funny smart, smart smart or genius. Noticeably, the divide between too lateral or too literal can often be a slightly more exaggerated visual versus a slightly ‘straighter line’.
However, to be lateral you must first be literal. To be simple you must be genius. I got hit with this on placement. The direct brief. Being hit by a solely literal brief pisses on the newborn creatives fire (not that I am not eternally grateful for the opportunity, honestly). But we’ve been bred to challenge, accept nothing as concrete, see every statement as a chance to question. Direct is terrifying. Because creatives spend a lot of there existence being indirect existentialists, dreamers, philosophers.
There are many ways to go around ‘the problem’, so we tried them all:
(*Disclaimer* There is no direct correlation between the grieving process and working in advertising, but for the purposes of my writing, yes there is.)
“Okay this brief hasn’t exactly lit a giant fire under our arses, our friends are unlikely to give a **** so there’s no point messaging them about it, let’s get some breakfast. *5 minutes into a quality panini* Why would they even DO a brief like this they’ve got much bigger clients I don’t want to do this. Let’s just do our own work. Sod direct. *Facebook scrolling commence*”
“I MEAN REALLY. Who even looks at this stuff! OOoooOOOoo a personal letter addressed SPECIALLY to me, I’d hate that. I don’t want to make stuff I’d hate. I can’t BELIEVE how much they charged for that panini.”
“Maybe we should just talk to our ECD, say something y’know. I mean he can’t expect us to do much with this thing. I bet HE never had to do this. Do you reckon we can just wack out a couple of A4’s and stick ‘em up? Nah man, c’mon let’s have a go. *8 seconds scan of brief* *Groan* Do you reckon that panini place does lunch?”
“Mate sometimes I genuinely wonder what these people are doing here. Do you reckon they’re happy? I get that a table tennis table is pretty dope and all but they can’t be like HAPPY happy. *Commence cheap holiday deals searching*”
“Dude, shall we actually do this thing?”
Something clicked. We ended up working harder on this than anything else in the office. The curse of direct was lifted. We smashed out route after route, medias, executions, new audiences, new faces, new places. We were flying!
We were then ever so softly reminded that we had gone mental and the client / CD really just wants the four bits of info on a page with a medium that doesn’t cost more than 20p per pack.
Direct was a steep learning curve, and something that we will all have to do. I hope one day I can win an award for it. It’s the ultimate recognition for your lateral brain shaking hands with your literal side.