In the past few years personally and professionally I’ve been involved in the overthrow of tyrants, unprecedented (sorry) changes to the law, new days for teams that fought hard for them or never believed they would come. Big steps both easy and hard for people of all kinds. I’ve been on the edge of it and in the thick of it.
In hindsight, each event started with a necessary conversation or deliberate action, someone else joins in, maybe a resource is found and eventually momentum takes over. The significance of that first step was not apparent at the time — as with most things we do.
I tell you this because I’m wondering on the biggest steps I can take for myself, the people I love and with the data I have today. But of more interest to you, I wonder what we can do together.
In this corner of Australia it’s clear many things need to change quickly for us to thrive and see another 40,000 years on this land. We still have some uncomfortable conversations to have around history, prosperity, equality, but perhaps most pressingly — the rising sea around us.
But time for talk is limited so, let’s get started while we nut it out!
As entrepreneurs, leaders and creative professionals we can each bend what we do well toward what we, they and the planet needs. It might take a month or a year but, we can all do it. Do what you love but — where it’s needed most. There’s almost no downside but to look away is heart-breaking.
Each of us, in every field, pursuit or passion — apply all you know and can quickly learn to help us:
- Use less and better energy, consume more wisely and travel less and more efficiently. We’re staring down a 4–6 degrees temperature rise in our and the next generation’s lives if we don’t halve our carbon emissions quickly. That’s the end of life as we know it today, and possibly us.
- Deploy our infinite curiosity and optimism to opportunities in sectors, cities and States that cause the most harm to people, systems and our future. The trade-offs aren’t working but, for many, we don’t live long enough to realise (or care). But talk to someone with an open heart twenty five years your junior and see how they feel about it.
- Take our chance at every election, summit, white paper, new board, pivot or hire to channel honest reflection and consultation into action for people and planet. Ideas and words are just the start.
What to make of 2020?
Let’s honour the pause this year and the jilting of our thoughts and intuition to further a reframing of how we all can participate and thrive. A creative agency can only contribute in a small way but, we punch above our weight. We help turn hunches into businesses into leaders with resource and, fuck… we need more of those right now. More Mikes, Ronnis and Allys.
Arguably the best levers for effectiveness as a business or organisation are scale and creativity. If you lack the former, use a disproportionate share of the latter.
An analysis of 50 years of Effies papers in 2019 (a respected award standard in the advertising industry, over 5000 case studies across categories and countries in this particular analysis) found that the bigger you are the better your chance of being effective with your creative dollar. It also found the second most signficant determinant (by a long margin) is creativity. For every $1 spent on fist-pumpingly, smile-breakingly creative work a return of $12 is delivered.
But perhaps unheroically, or because of the business model (big agencies run like international horse stables), many creative agencies chase those with the deepest pockets, not the deepest connection to our future.
You’ll have an idea of where our problems lie around the climate emergency, systemic inequality connected to opportunity, race and gender and the delicate nature of a global economy revealed by COVID-19. Our most creative thinking is needed here however the industries best supported by commercial creativity and media in 2019 and 2020 were Retail, Travel, Motor Vehicles, Finance and Communications. The rest of the top 10 categories also give pause for thought.
Given it’s one hundred seconds to midnight for humans I believe the best use of scale x creativity is to the abridged list earlier in this piece.
Allies, we have been behind the scenes since 2014 but now we’re plain to see. Greenpeace, Bank Australia, The Victorian Government and The Greens (for starters), let’s get on with it.
For our people, partners and clients we’re taking more deliberate steps on the path we set in 2014.
Pick up a pen, drop us a slack or call and we’ll walk through it together.
We’re in, All or Nothing.