Friday, January 15, 2010

How to get a creative to do their job (the Ronan Keating way)

As we all know, persuading a creative to put bullet point to marker pad can involve all manner of cajoling and badgering. And frankly, saying things like “But isn’t this what you’re paid for?” just won’t cut it.

So as a gesture of goodwill towards all the suits I’ve made fun of on this blog, I’m giving you my TOP SECRET-super-classified-insider-tips on How to get a creative to do their job.

May I suggest you adopt what I’ve dubbed 'The Ronan Keating approach to account management'?

Now, the Boyzone star and Women's Institute pin-up may have the least sincere smile in pop and a voice so middle of the road it makes cat's eyes jealous. But beneath those twinkly Oirish eyes lurks a mind of fiendish cunning.

Quite simply, it’s all in how he phrases it.

He wrote the following about his wife: “You say it best when you say nothing at all”.

Think about it. He doesn’t say, “Shut up, I’m trying to watch the telly”.

Instead, he comes up with, “You say it best when you say nothing at all”. It's genius. The guy's an utter genius.

Now. Let’s apply that to what suits do.

You’re briefing something in. You want the team to put in that extra 10% (so that’s 12% then). What do you do?

Here are my top tips:

· Tell them how brilliant they are.

· Tell them another team couldn’t crack it, so you’re coming to them because they’ve got a reputation for always coming up with the goods.

· Tell them there’s a massive budget on it and it’s a really exciting opportunity – but could they also do some low-budget solutions, just to show a ‘range of ideas’?

· Give the job an exciting name like ‘Project breakthrough’ or ‘Awards job’.

These are almost guaranteed to give you the desired effect.

If, however, none of the above work, and you feel the situation warrants it, you can go for The slightly scary brooding Ronan approach.


The prospect of a couple of hours of 'insights' and 'brand essences' will, I promise, put the wind up any creative. Just watch them scuttle back to their desk more anxious to please than, well, a suit.

Ronan and I look forward to hearing how these tips have boosted productivity in YOUR creative department.


  1. Dear me. You REALLY don't get it do you? Without us you'd be nothing more than a hack. Tirelessly scribbling words in the vane hope that somebody will, one day whilst they're on the toilet, read what you've put down.

    Honestly RM, do you REALLY think that Ronan was talking about that? No, he knows your profession all to well, which is why he wrote his seminal work 'Words'. Do you remember that one? In the song YOU’RE referring to he's referring to copywriters again. "Say nothing at all" refers to the value of Art Direction, and that it'd be better if the copy-heavy ad he was looking at contained no words whatsoever.

    So next time you have a deluded attack at our profession, just think “What would Ronan think about this?”

    As Snox would put it – “See how I won that one?”

    Yours, G.C.

  2. Good god, what planners did you have to work with?!

    The art of brevity applies to us as well. We are supposed to sift through the sludge so the creatives get the best bits quickly and easily.

  3. "Life is a rollercoaster, you've just got to ride it."

    Ronan is a wise, wise man.

  4. Graham,
    I was once like you are now, and i know that its not easy to be calm when you've found something going on. But take your time, think alot think of everything you've got for you will still be here tomorrow, but your dreams may not...
    or ideas for that matter.
    Grow up eh?!

  5. I reckon you could get a creative to do almost anything - clean the loos or even get to work on time - rather than spend a couple of hours listening to a planner talk round and round in circles and saying 'engage' a lot.

  6. Dear Anonymous (1).
    (I presume that's not your actual name?)

    My comments towards RealMen are in jest. I know the (very) good man. He'd say the same to me had I opened up so honestly about the text teams. But his cut would be just like, you know, more better than mine. x