A couple months ago, our graphic designer Brady discovered this AdWeek article about “hybrid creatives,” which proposes the idea that many Millennial creatives entering the advertising industry are these multi-talented havens of ingenuity and creativity. Meaning—they can do multiple job titles from graphic designer to copywriter to photographer.
Now, we all know about Millennials—those ever so elusive beings born somewhere between 1982 and 2004 that perplex and confound the members of previous generations due to their perceived lack of work ethic and self-serving nature (whew!—you try summarizing Millennials in one sentence). Are these characterizations true? Absolutely. Are they true about every Millennial? Absolutely not. While there are plenty of Millennials out there who fit the stereotypical description of their so-called generation, there are many whose unique perspective on the world offers new solutions to old problems and whose creativity can astonish.
Immediately, our team launched into a discussion about idea of Millennials and hybrid creatives. What we quickly realized was how relevant the term hybrid creative already is to the advertising industry. It’s not new, at least, not to us. In fact, the term fits our Octagon team to a T.
Creativity is all about solving problems, and sometimes one person just doesn’t get the job done. How often at work do you lean over to your neighbor or call someone to your desk to get their opinion? Why do you do this—because every person has a unique perspective and a different way of telling the story or getting the job done. A copywriter isn’t going to solve a problem the same way a graphic designer would nor would an account executive solve problems like a media planner. Each person (not just the creative) brings something unique to the table that may open a new avenue of problem-solving.
Advertising also tends to be a very “by the seat of your pants,” “down to the wire” type of industry. This mean loads and loads of deadlines to meet. Sometimes everyone has to pitch in to make sure the project is finished and finished well. So, maybe this idea of the “hybrid creative” really isn’t as new a concept as everyone thinks.
The more we discussed it, the more we realized—this is something we already do on a daily basis. Maybe it’s the current business structure that doesn’t always afford creatives (or even other agency professionals) the opportunity to get into those roles that are outside of their job title. Just hearing the term hybrid creative has completely changed the way we think about how we work.
Does this mean that every ad professional and every new Millennial entering the workforce fits this description? Again, we say—absolutely not. Tweeting doesn’t automatically make you a copywriter just like taking pictures on your iPhone doesn’t automatically make you a photographer. In advertising, experience is a crucial component of success and a great teacher, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t be opening ourselves up to greater use of these multi-talented individuals. True creativity can come from all sources, often the ones we don’t expect.