If you are ever in doubt as to Russell Davies’ generosity, then all you need to do is take a look at this post where he steps us (patiently) through a recent presentation and the thinking behind it.
There is plenty to chew on … the challenge of attention/relevance, the discontinuities of communication, the illusion of the "big idea" … and much, much more. Even in style, the post is a great piece of storytelling … you can sort of hear Russell somewhere in the background muttering something self-deprecating.
There is a section on communication and the difference between analogue and digital (in a strictly analogue sense, of course). Russell talks about the way that engagement, and our EXPERIENCE of a piece of advertising or communication works … as a series of thousands of small hooks that work together artistically (the style, casting, design, layout etc) to allow us to emotionally enter the space of the work (attitude, look, feel, tone and so on).
One of the parts that I liked most was this section …
And Russell is right (of course). Execution is strategic and innately messy/chaotic. It is nice to think that strategy is a clean and refined/refining process, but it cannot be separated from the creative and ideation process. Well it can, but the ideas and the strategies will be weaker for it. We don’t like to talk about it because it costs us money to bring them together.
We don’t like to talk about it because it is expensive AND it makes it obvious that STRATEGY is as messy and chaotic as ANY ideation process. Strategy isn’t dispensed from on-high … it doesn’t (mostly) come from a single, clear direction or idea. It tends to be circular and tangential and deemed to be "true" only when it has been walked over, pulled apart, dipped in sauce, covered in coffee and dissected with a blade. That’s right, strategy works best when it is owned by a TEAM.
As Russell says "It involves lots of people, lots of dead-ends and wastes lots of ideas. But it’s the only way to produce stuff that goes beyond the everyday run of communications" … and THAT is what it is all about.
They say there is no such thing as a free lunch? Russell seems to be serving up yet another!