Blogs & Comment

All creatives have experienced how fragile a beautiful idea is

Ramsey Naja is chief creative officer at JWT MEA

“I used to be a biker. Not any biker, mind you, but a motorcyclist. Worse, I used to be an all-year-round, come rain or shine motorcyclist. As this was in England, it meant more rain than shine, but that’s besides the point. What I loved about being a motorcyclist besides the thrills associated with controlling a fundamentally unstable vehicle, was camaraderie. What differentiates bikers is a sense of solidarity borne out of a commonly-felt sentiment of defiant vulnerability.

Ah, defiant vulnerability. If you are in advertising and it rings a bell, then you’re in creative. Day in, day out, you ride your luck, your pride and your gut feeling on the most hazardous of circuits, exposed as you are to cynicism, hidden agendas, vested interests and procurement, on a journey where satisfaction is ephemeral, temporary and so forgetful it might as well call itself a goldfish. Creatives, you see, are the motorcyclists of the advertising world. Where you might see competition, ego and the kind of attitude that makes a gangsta rapper look like Saint Augustine, we see anxiety, trepidation and a need for pharmaceutical products.

Go to an award show and you will spot them immediately. Not because of their catastrophic sense of dress and dodgy hygiene, but because of the pungent smell of adrenaline, fear and expectation. And, if you really want to know what makes them look more like a brotherhood than a community, just wait for the moment they fail. In motorcycling cultures, it is a given that, minutes after a biker breaks down, there will be half a dozen brethren offering help that ranges from mechanics to accommodation, let alone if he had actually crashed. In creative, should you lose control and head for the metaphorical hedge, you know deep inside that it won’t be long before help comes along, because we have all experienced how fragile a beautiful idea is.”