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奥美全球创意总监:创意遭拒不可怕

谭启明 2012年07月03日

最伟大的创作往往游走于现实可能的边缘。这就意味着,有时候由于这样那样的原因,一番心血最终的结果却是彻底的失败。尽管如此,创意人决不能轻易妥协。

    屋顶酒吧开张前好几个小时,我们就到了那。但是,考虑到我们刚刚收到的消息,相信没人会责怪我们的疯狂。

    我把客户推向崩溃的边缘,同时还要争取他的支持;我鼓励同事突破创作的边界,同时还要防止他们因为感觉违心而疯狂;我在做这一切的同时,我还在召集一个大型的欧洲区域会议。

    奥美(Ogilvy & Mather)欧洲中东及非洲办事处的区域创意总监保罗•史密斯正在埋头喝闷酒。巴黎办事处的克里斯•加布特则来回踱步,这位执行创意总监掩饰不住自己的懊丧和失望。作为他们的顶头上司,我必须想办法解决问题。

    维也纳这座城市是西方文明史上众多伟大成就的集大成者,令其它城市汗颜。公司多位创意总监聚集在此,展开为期三天的密集讨论和交流。

    管理一只创意团队就像用水银造房子:天生地不稳定而且危险。所以我并没有像搭积木那样去建设创意,我只是试图为其营造最佳的孕育环境。当面会谈则是为这种环境打造基础的最佳时机。

    然而就在这样一个重要的会议上,我们遇到了最严重的创意困境。克里斯一如既往地在未知领域勇往直前,他领导的巴黎团队为某家一线饮料品牌制作了一段精彩的广告片,试图展现上流而略带保守的品牌形象。片子拍摄了三年,每一个子儿都精打细算,但他们还是超支了。项目在失败的边缘摇摇欲坠,甚至可能是一场昂贵的灾难。全球首席执行官杨明皓和我通过预算运作拉到了额外的8万美元。我们的努力没有白费,这样的片子必将赢得喝彩,更重要的是,它将为客户带来盈利。

    客户也很欣赏这部广告片,准确的说,欣赏片子的大部分,除了有一幕,他们觉得过了点。一周之前,我和公司的区域主席丹尼尔•希考利飞到客户的欧洲总部去推销该片。钱已经不重要了,片子的创意才华横溢,我们必须说服客户。从理性的角度来看,也许我们应该让步,删去不合适的那一幕。两秒而已,何况是客户厌恶的两秒。何必冒这么大的险?

    我们坚持,是因为那两秒就是从卓越到绝妙之间的差别。那两秒里,时钟停摆,那两秒展示了原始而炫目的奢华,和周遭的全球性衰退格格不入。那一刻影片臻入化境,那一刻也可能埋藏失败的祸根。

    We were in the rooftop bar just a few hours before it was strictly decent to be there. But with the news we'd just received, who could blame us?

    I had to push a client to the breaking point while still keeping him on my side, encourage my creative colleagues to keep pushing the boundaries while keeping them from heading off the roof from feeling that their integrity was being compromised, and I had to do it all in the backdrop of a huge European regional meeting we had called.

    Paul Smith, the regional creative director for Ogilvy & Mather's offices in Europe, the Middle East, and Africa, sat hunched over his drink. Chris Garbutt, executive creative director for the Paris office, paced back and forth, frustrated and disappointed. As worldwide chief creative officer, I needed to figure out how to solve this problem.

    We had all convened in Vienna, a city that can claim an embarrassingly large share of responsibility for Western culture's great achievements. Dozens of creative directors had come together for three intense days of critique and sharing ideas.

    Managing a creative team is like building with mercury -- structurally unsound and toxic. So instead of trying to construct creativity, as if it were a kind of widget you can build, I try to create the best possible environment for it to grow. Face-to-face meetings are the best occasions for me to lay the groundwork for this kind of environment.

    And here, right in the middle of one of those cherished meetings, dropped a creative problem of the first magnitude. Chris had taken things well into the unknown, just as he ought to. He and his team in Paris had produced an impressive commercial for a major beverage brand with an upscale and slightly conservative image. The film had been in the works for three years. The team scrimped on each expense to pour every cent of the budget into the commercial, and theystill ran out of money. They were teetering on the edge of failure or even outright, expensive disaster. With some budgetary acrobatics, our global CEO Miles Young and I found them another $80,000 to work with, and I'm glad we did. It was the kind of film that wins acclaim -- and more importantly, rings the till.

    The client loved the film, too. Well, most of it. But one scene took things too far for them. The week before, I flew to the client's European headquarters with Ogilvy's regional chairman Daniel Sicouri to sell the commercial. Screw the money. We thought this was brilliant creative, and we had to convince them. Any reasonable person would wonder why we didn't just instantly cave and cut the offending scene. It was just two seconds of footage, and the client hated it. Why stake so much on it?

    We resisted because those few seconds of film took the commercial from being great to beingdangerous. Those seconds seemed longer than they really were since they displayed a scene of visceral and conspicuous extravagance in the midst of a global recession. That moment was where the film went so far out there that it courted failure.

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