Legendary adman, William Bernbach once said, “Is creativity some obscure, esoteric art form? Not on your life. It’s the most practical thing a businessman can employ.”
Bernbach believed that if you could harness the power of creativity you could communicate with your audience more memorably and more directly.
The emergence of the creative team
Whilst working at ad agency William Weintraub, Bernbach realised the increasing importance of the creative unit. When he met Paul Rand, Weintraub's art director, he instantly connected with the designer. The two struck up a friendship and begin plotting a future where copy and art complemented each other.
“Rules are what the artist breaks; the memorable never emerged from a formula.”
Bernbach was quick to grasp how such collaborations could liberate agency creative work.
The formulation of the art-copy relationship
In 1949, Bernbach founded Doyle Dane Bernbach. The New York-based agency would rise to become the biggest advertising agency in the world, amassing $1.2 billion in billings during his 33 years at the helm.
At the heart of the agency was creativity. It was present in every pitch and in every piece of work. Bernbach's pioneering idea of getting the artist and copywriter to work hand in hand led to some of the most memorable campaigns of the 20th century.
In 1960, giving a German car a lovable personality meant breaking all the rules - not just for car advertising, but for advertising in general. That task fell to the art director, Helmut Krone, and to Julian Koenig, his copywriter partner. Playing to the simplicity of the product was a practice unfamiliar to DDB’s contemporaries. But DDB’s VW ads introduced us to a car that would come to symbolise anti-establishment and common sense.
(Extracted from Legends in Advertising: Bill Bernbach, the Original Don Draper, By: Zac Petit, 2014.)
DDB, although a pioneer of the creative team in advertising, was not the first media organisation to value the creative above all else. Walt Disney Studios drew a detailed sketch (below) in 1957 depicting the company's strategy, with creativity at the hub.
Films are at the centre surrounded by theme parks, merchandise, music, publishing and television. Each piece of the business provides content and leads to sales for the others
(Extracted from The Economist: Stars Wars, Disney and Myth Making, By: Economist Newspapers Ltd, Dec 19th 2015).
The future of the creative team
In today's communications agency the art-copy relationship is as important as ever but it’s no longer exclusive to designers and copywriters. There are other key contributors to this creative balance such as UX digital marketers who help provide a structure and blueprint for mapping out on-screen assets such as websites and mobile apps. There are social executives who actively run and monitor campaigns across social media, account directors who oversee the creative process, ensuring projects run to time and budget, and PR staff that ensure a company's name is always in the spotlight.
"The integration of the beautiful and the useful.”
As Paul Rand once said,“Visual communications of any kind, whether persuasive or informative, from billboards to birth announcements, should be seen as the embodiment of form and function: the integration of the beautiful and the useful.”
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