Tuesday, February 20, 2007


Today all the Miami's, me, Daniel, Dirk, Dan and Yigit, went all the way to Antwerp for a class from Guillaume van der Stighelen, one of the founders of Duval Guillaume. We went to Duval Guilaume corporate where we waited for an hour in a big office on the top of the building. So we had enough time to talk, brainstorm and to go outside to enjoy the view over Antwerp while smoking a cigarette.

"So you want a class about how to get ideas?", Guillaume said when he got in, "You don't find ideas, ideas find you". The 52-year old founder of Duval Guillaume started with a quote I heard before, but which -in my opinion- can't be said often enough. What he meant by that is when you push too hard to get an idea, it usually doesn't work. You have to play your way into an idea, walk around until an idea hits you.

I've got two very good examples of that. I won my first award with a radiocommercial that me and my former art-director Peter made up in the radiostudio. I wrote it in half a minute. A year later we thought of an idea for a mailing during a photoshoot. The representative of the photographer wanted to use the idea for his own company and within a week it was actually made. We won a direct marketing prize with it. If only advertising was always that easy...

Guillaume also said some interesting things about ego. "You should have a large ego as a creative. Having an ego is not a bad thing, using your ego in a wrong way is a bad thing". What he meant by 'ego' is not arrogance, but the inner drive to make the best work ever because you want to please yourself. You want to make work that gets you on the stages of the award festivals. "The best creatives", he said with a smile, "wake up in the morning and think that they are a gift to the world that they exist".

The bad type of ego is the one that blocks you, that prevents you to listen to other people. The one that makes creatives feel that they are better than other persons. And it's easy to fall into that trap. You can talk for hours about whether an idea is good or not, but you can't discuss the years of experience or the amount of prizes somebody won. These last two are often used as a weapon to win a discussion.

Being on a stage when you're as young as 24 is especially dangerous. You have the award (and the ego) of a senior, but everybody still sees you as a junior. Five years ago, me and my former collegue Peter were in an editing room for a commercial We had a fierce discussion with one of the account managers of my agency. In the next editing room they could probably hear us swearing. Afterwards I was totally exhausted. I spoke to the director of the commercial. "Sometimes," I said to him, "this business is forcing me to have a really arrogant attitude towards people. I don't want to look down on people. I just want to work together to get the best result possible".


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