By Ben Golding
SCA versus the rest of the world
So I’ve been for quite a few crits now at all sorts of different companies, big and small, above and below the line. I’m starting to get a feel for what people generally like in my book and what splits opinion. Now there seems to be a divide growing in my mind, between ex-SCA students and graduates of other schools who are who are now superstars of industry,. I don’t know if its a divide in their thinking or if its one in their training. Nonetheless, for good or bad, ex-SCA students seem to be able to pick apart my work so much easier than others.
They seem to have the skills and drive to completely pull apart a poster and ask ‘so what’ or ‘dig a bit deeper’. I can’t decide if this is a good or a bad thing. Is it just that the SCA education drills in the need to have a problem, insight and solution. A customer benefit, a relevant abruption, rating highly on the sticky scale. All of these are a good barometer for whether an ad ‘works’ or not, but for me its not always the be all and end all. We have been repeatedly told that everyone has an opinion so its wise to only listen to the ones you care about and trust, but this seems to run deeper than just an opinion on your work. I’m beginning to feel that SCA alumni really struggle to just step back and look at a piece of communications and appreciate it as just that. A poster is a poster. Is it saying something in an interesting or novel way? Is it beautiful? Would you buy what it is advertising? After talking to lots of Watford and Bucks grads, this ability is lost in some SCA-ers. Perhaps it’s because we are always looking for a deeper meaning, for a bigger insight or stronger truth. Maybe being an SCA graduate means great is never great enough. They know what its like to strive to be the very best, and they want to draw that out of you. Perhaps they are not saying ‘this doesn’t work’, but ‘It looks good but you can do better’.
Having said that, remembering the art and artistry of the beautiful ad is not an easy job, and I’m not saying I’m there yet. But keep a wary eye people, bear in mind advertising is 80% craft, as well as 80% idea.