The idea doesn’t matter

by Marika Karlöf

There seems to be an increased negligence about the value of craftsmanship in this industry. Of course, everybody appreciates the craft work. But It appears to be some kind of industry symptom that disregards the handcraft, where the idea takes over and the craft is not given the place it needs. Not least, I have witnessed this trend at advertising schools where it seems that only the ‘idea’ matters.

I am a copywriter, but also a creative. Which means, of course, the idea is important to me. But anyone can come up with an idea. Yes, practically anyone. However, very few can grab it and put it into a context. So, what really happens to ads when we neglect the execution? They get inferior.

I agree with the rarely provocative but very sympathetic Jonas Frank;

Advertising has fallen asleep. Why do ads most often look like crap? It’s time to start doing advertising with quality.

A good idea is never stronger than its execution.

It is clear that one of the problems to this phenomenon lies in the negligence of handcraft. It’s not in the execution that young creators want to show off their skills anymore. The effect of this problem is clear to me; communication in general seems to be worse than ever. For example, the industry population no longer prioritize print ads. But let’s take a second look. Print does matter. Print does have a bright future. On digital devices we get frustrated with ads and click or swipe them away as quickly as we can. What I am trying to say is not that digital platforms are unimportant. Of course, they are. But just because it exists doesn’t mean that we should exclude other platforms, and we should especially not exclude the importance of handcraft. We can never stop being professionals at our crafts.

Everybody can write, sing and cook. Still there are copywriters, singers and chefs. Why? They do it better.

So, if an idea is nothing without its execution, and we are putting less effort into the actual execution, how can we expect advertising to be better than ever? We do win a lot of prizes in Cannes and competitions alike. What is good is damn good, but advertising in general is quite trivial. Imagine what lengths we could go to if we put in as much effort into execution as we do into the idea.

Certainly, as far as the idea work is concerned, everyone can be equal to God (and the CD), but 75% of the working day ultimately consists of production. And in production, there is a professional on text and a professional on the picture. – An admirable copywriter.

Better together

The bottom line is that the idea must be given its place, but not at the expense of execution and production. Having said that, a copywriter will not only write and an art director will not only produce images. We are all creatives. Together we create, then we sharpen our pens and do what we are best at: our crafts.

I am terribly foolishly excited to take on this industry in the way that I am convinced is the right way. Where ideas without execution is like love without kisses, or coffee without cream.

In other words, or as we say here at River: We are believers in creativity, intelligence and the power of transformation. Together, we obsess.

Marika Karlöf