The Next Generation

Over the years, my bosses have been directly helpful and influential in improving my work.  (I may not have used that help to quite the extent I could have, but it was definitely made available.)

Mike Cozens, Peter Souter, Tony Cox, Paul Belford, Nigel Roberts and other brilliant creatives who didn’t have the official title of CD, but nonetheless took the time to give me the benefit of their excellent advice (Dave Dye, Sean Doyle, Steve Hudson, Victoria Fallon, Paul Briginshaw, Malcolm Duffy, Jeremy Carr, Tim Riley, Gary Martin, Tom Carty, Damon Collins, Mary Wear, Walter Campbell, John Gorse etc.) made me better than I otherwise would have been, and if I didn’t say ‘thank you’ very clearly at the time, I’ll say it now.
But I wonder if the same benefits are available to today’s younger creatives.  It may be because of the changing job of CD/ECD, but I’ve heard of several CD’s who have to spend so long being ‘client facing’ and/or running their agencies, that they can’t spend as long nurturing the juniors as they might like.
This may be unavoidable, but what will the consequences be?
When art directors and copywriters are they are in their unformed, junior years, they need someone to point them in the right direction.  Whether it’s helping them be able to spot a good idea or choose the right director, the first ten years (at least) should be a constant process of learning and improvement.
Then there’s the crafts themselves: anyone can write a sentence and anyone can plonk a sentence on a photograph, but doing either of those two things well takes time and education.
If that education is not available, how are the younger creatives going to learn?  And if they don’t learn, how good will they be as middleweights or seniors?  Will they even reach that level?  Will this spread a lower quality throughout creative departments, bringing the general standard down?  And if the top level has moved on by then, will anyone care?
Maybe it’ll all be OK, or maybe advertising creativity will become another neglected craft that slips away without being missed.