Creative Influence


Attend any award show and the majority of the recipient’s acceptance speech will focus on all of the people they want to thank for making their special moment possible. It sounds so banal and contrived. But it isn’t once you’ve seen how a fresh outside influence can dramatically change the course of the creative process, or product, in real time.


A few weeks ago I attended a concert at Massey Hall featuring Blackie and the Rodeo Kings. I went because I love Massey Hall and hoped that I’d like some of their music. “Well, it filled the hall” is about as effusive as I can be about the band’s first ½ hour.


Enter guest star, Tarra Lightfoot. A singer \ songwriter with a folk vibe that I wasn’t familiar with, but she has a great alto voice that complimented and rounded out their sound. 




Enter guest star Serena Ryder. Another singer \ songwriter. This one with a classic rock style. Her voice + style didn’t compliment the Rodeo Kings as much as it encouraged me to notice all of the different voices and instruments on stage.




Enter guest star Daniel Lanois. World renowned singer \ songwriter \ producer. He changed everything the moment he walked on the stage. 10 seconds in to their first collaboration and I was listening to Daniel Lanois and his back-up band; Blackie and the Rodeo Kings. The evening quickly went from a 5 / 10 to a 9 / 10, not because I knew all of Daniel Lanois’ music, but because of the broad range of experience that he brings to any stage.


Game changing.


A similar thing happened in the more progressive ad agencies that I worked for. 

Every few years they’d bring in a new creative director to “stir things up”. The first time I saw it happen I was young, ignorant and didn’t understand it. I thought the agency was messing with the status quo . . . which . . . it was. Along the way I learned that that’s what good ad agencies do and good brand stewards expect because it ensures the brand’s image reflects the times. 


Working with a pool of freelance strategists, copywriters, designers and media planners and buyers is a great way to bring fresh perspectives to a brand - ensuring the it remains relevant.


The greatest challenge you'll face: the gatekeepers in your shop who don’t like change.