Craig Davis
Nov 26, 2013

Don’t let them tell you you’re not creative

Don't fall for the idea that only creative-agency types can be creative.

Craig Davis
Craig Davis

There’s a deep-seated arrogance in creative agencies that loiters uncomfortably like a drunk after a party. A hangover from the days when creative agencies held most sway with clients.

But the whole idea of a ‘creative agency’ is Jurassic. And the liberal use of the word ‘creative’, the presence of creative departments, creative teams and creative directors doesn’t actually make them any more creative than other companies in the mix.

It’s an illusion. And if you’re some dumb schmuck in a media, PR, design, digital or content marketing company who’s been falling for it: stop. You — yes, you — are a creative person every bit as capable as your counterparts in creative agencies.

You may doubt that. You may even be fearful of it. That’s normal. We’ve all got someone in our past who planted that corrosive kind of fear into us. Mine was Dennis O’Hearn.

As a young kid I had a ‘golden voice’. At least that’s what teachers and parents had said. I sang my lungs out, loud and clear, at every opportunity. Then a new music teacher arrived at school announcing that the regional inspector was coming to visit. We started rehearsing immediately and, as we sang, Dennis O’Hearn leaned in close to listen. 

One afternoon he asked a handful of us to stay behind after class. I felt sure he was going to ask me to ‘solo’. Instead, he asked this hand-picked posse of 8-year-olds to mime. Shattered, I didn’t sing another note for years.

But I got over it, had lessons, and busked my way through university.

Put your ‘Dennis’ to rest and find your own creative voice.

Clients are listening and they really don’t care where the best ideas come from.  

Craig Davis is Founder of Brandkarma and formerly CCO of Publicis Mojo, Saatchi & Saatchi Asia and JWT Worldwide. He is on the Board of Conscious Capitalism and blogs at


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