Thoughts 30.01.17

Advertising should be about everyday magic

What better job is there than creating little moments of wonder that stop people in their tracks, even if it’s just for a brief moment? Fold7 Founder and Chief Creative Officer, Ryan Newey, discusses the need for everyday magic.

When I was a boy, I recall telling my neighbours that I was getting a pet bull. Not your average bull either but an imperious Spanish fighting bull. I thought bulls were cool. Lamborghini had one on its logo and I had a poster of that on my wall (a red Countach – what was I thinking?). Four feet tall at best, I pitched to my neighbours that the bull was coming and would be living in the back garden of a small bungalow in the Midlands. The neighbours smiled and I thought no more of it. Until, that is, two days later, when a few of them showed up at the door.

My folks answered with an air of innocence as I offered a smile of apprehension. Just to clarify, my street wasn’t a zoo. Animals didn’t roam the gardens. The idea was ridiculous. But, nonetheless, the neighbours were here and they were alarmed. And so they explained their concerns. Had we thought it through? Is it not dangerous? While hiding behind the curtain, I thought: “You’re kidding me, you can’t have believed a word I said – I’m just a kid!” Stood on the doorstep, the neighbours waited for my dad’s thoughts on the matter.

Cue a long, dramatic pause. Then: “He’s getting two bulls.” Boom! Dad was in on the lie – he had my back and I started to think this bull thing could become a reality. Holy shit, what was happening? My mind was dancing. After scraping the neighbours off the floor, my dad conceded: “He’s pulling your leg – he’s got an overactive imagination.” That spoilsport. And there it was. What an amazing campaign I had cooked up, rallying neighbours around a common goal, filling their lives with dread, fear, delight and imagination. What fun. Surely life should be full of such augmentation of the everyday? In that moment, I understood a little more about the power of communications and how they should be considered, aimed and fired.

Cut to today. Open on an alarm clock beeping from an iPad, cut to shower, close up on face (not for long: need to fix that in the grade), journey, meeting, work review (highlight), cut to wide of client meeting, travel, tracking shot through street and – boom – there’s a dog with dreadlocks! There it is: the moment of the unexpected, the moment of everyday magic that I crave. This is what I get up for: to experience and inject a drop of magic into the everyday. When all is said and done, what more should we expect of the idea babies we send into the world than little parcels of magic that just temporarily make people miss a beat? In that beat lives a creative director who is in all of us.

Everyone has a creative soul and, as creative professionals, we are tasked with helping others see it – even if it’s just momentarily. Everyday magic can’t be bottled – it’s the very thing clients can’t manufacture and it’s the only thing people really feel. No-one likes “advertising”. But everyone likes to pause their day for a moment for a creative blip that takes them to another place. What a gift that we have companies and brilliant minds dedicated to crafting spells to augment the everyday. Happily, the days of advertising as a tax on entertainment are long gone. Now, it’s all about owning the magic in consumers’ everyday. And, as creative businesses, filling our stables with such magicians. No bull necessary.

The article was first published in Campaign magazine.