Sometime last week, this writer was having a discussion with some colleagues and a creative director over the recent win of our very own, Nigeria’s Ifeanyi Arthur Mazi, for emerging the 2017 Lurzer’s Archive Student of the year along with his partner, Meri Giorgobiani, a young female from Georgia. Their winning work is titled “Reborn,” (please Google it). Ifeanyi was formerly a junior Art Director at SO&U before winning a half-tuition scholarship to go study Art Direction in Miami Ad School, Hamburg, around late 2015.
The discussion became very enthralling when it was divulged that about two agencies (names withheld) are now quietly jostling on luring the young chap (Ifeanyi) back home to come and take on the role of a Creative Director!
This preposterous quest on the part of the jostling agencies, in analogy, is almost like saying because a junior student in a secondary school tops his class as the overall best, such a student is then very well equipped, and ready to take on the role of a school principal.
The above mindset not only reveals the derisiveness in which some stakeholders view the role of a CD, part of which results into the plummeting standards the industry is grappling with at the moment, also, such a mindset is a microscopic of the appalling Nigerian mentality where majority believe that anything with the touch of oyinbo is the finest!
Though, the very first Creative Director role was initiated in 1870 by James Walter Thompson, notwithstanding, its core essence remains unchanged till date if not slightly evolved. According to the highly revered David Droga, “Besides being the last line of defense, a Creative Director is the conscience and soul of an agency, s/he is the power-volt that sends sparks not just to every unit within the agency, but also to all the brands within the kitty of such agency.”
To Sir John Hegarty, “A Creative Director is the key-element that reconciles the two opposing forces of creative mayhem and organizational management. This is more so because a typical creative department is always on the verge of mutiny.”
From the above, the significance of a CD can’t be missed. However, the concept of “Creative Director” is today being plagued with issues such as: Isn’t it narrowing that all jobs go through one creative filter (CD) at this age and time? The simple solution to this very challenge is for CDs to learn delegating some responsibilities to trusted deputies and managers. It broadens perspectives.
Another contention is: “Transplanting of CDs,” that is, bringing someone from the outside in, when such an agency could have reposed confidence in her people by elevating the most senior of them to take on the CD’s role. Of course, a lot would come to play for this to happen. However, the crux here is that sometimes,“transplanted CDs” don’t easily assume the prevailing soul of an agency; in fact they often come in and start altering the culture of things so as to be felt.
Another knot is the “anyone can be a CD” mentality, or the “me-too fit do am” syndrome. The trappings of the CD’s office often attract this greed-like conviction. In retrospect, such conviction has its root in the Romanticism era of the late 18th and 19th centuries: the age of Rousseau, Goethe, Blake, and Beethoven, the age that birth the individual-enterprise and youthful rebellion.
Truth is, anyone can very well aspire to become anything, and by breaking sweat, such aspiration can be achieved. However, the role of a CD is near sacrosanct,and requires meticulousness when hire is being made, failure of which could permanently mar an agency.
For the Lurzer’s Archive Student of the year competition, one of its objectives is to “kick-start the young talent on the path of greatness.” Past winners of this laudable competition have all started sterling careers in different agencies across the globe, steadily growing through the ranks and assuming different position of responsibilities. Even, Meri Giorgobiani, Ifeanyi’s winning partner from Georgia, has moved to Holmes & Watson in Tbilisi, Georgia, to resume work as a very promising, young Art Director.
So, Ifeanyi Arthur Mazi, our very own Lurzer’s Archive Student of the year (2017), please take your time to develop your skills. Grow through the ranks into a well-rounded creative talent. Don’t gluttonously get lured with “big money” by some blood-sucking opportunists to come and take on a role that, at the slightest moment you get overwhelmed due to lack of requisite experience, the blood-sucking opportunists won’t hesitate to opt for a replacement, hence bringing your promising career to an abrupt end.
No be say I wan pour sand-sand for your garri o… I’M JUST SAYING.