The Iliad and The Odyssey.
Recently I was asked what young creative types should study in order to be successful in today's digital-centric world.
Other panelists suggested that they concentrate on "digitally interactive experiential snackable content development linked to social network interaction..." -- you get the Digibabble point.
My answer: Read The Iliad and The Odyssey and ask yourself why after thousands of years are they still being read in every language under the sun? Why are they converted into every new media form available in every age? Why are they iterated and riffed on and have become the basis for a myriad of other stories and adventures and quests? Why did they help form the basis for an entire civilization and its ethos? And what have we done or what are we doing in our own work that rivals the longevity and connectiveness of Homer's original stories?
Let me be clear -- I am not joking -- nor am I being provocative or otherwise facetious. I am dead serious.
More, I write this from Cannes, France, where I have been attending the International Festival of Creativity -- the Cannes Lions -- celebrating its 60th year.
I urge you to follow the links and view the winners for yourselves -- nothing will speak more eloquently than your own opinion -- but I will share the following filter.
The so-called Tech Giants -- Google, Microsoft, Yahoo, AOL, Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, you name them -- all are present here in big, big ways, mostly to encourage the ongoing creativity of the advertising community -- in fact, to support it and nurture it -- because they need our work to survive. Why? They sell advertising, and more, they need advertising in order to monetize.
You see almost no one mentions all the cute little cat videos and the viral UGC of stupid tricks or lip-synching turtles, all those homegrown little videos and such that were going to put me and my friends out of our jobs.
And although some incense was burned at its altar, Big Data was pure lip service here.
Not that UGC is bad or that Big Data isn't important; au contraire, it's just that what drives real creativity -- that is a story line that connects a costumer/user/buyer to a brand or product and inspires them to transact -- is deep insight into human behavior and the translation of that insight into content that is loved and shared.
Truthfully, I found some of the creative community mouthing the usual expected Digibabble phrases but the good news is that when it came to the work, it was clear that they were not constrained by the meaningless jargon.
As I said -- see for yourself -- look across all categories, don't fall into the trap of TV vs. Digital or Film, or Social vs. Direct, or any of the other hollow divisions and silos some would like to perpetuate.
Watch, read, listen, look -- the spirit of Homer is alive and well as is this industry.
In fact, I'd bet that even Homer would have been humming the little ditty that represents one of the most awarded campaigns of the year, as will you.
In fact, Homer even provided for this moment in The Odyssey...listen:
"Soft as some song divine, thy story flows." Homer
And there you have it. The story flows, the stories flowed and they flow and flow... so don't worry about the technology -- that will all change in time anyway. Let the stories flow.
And one last thought from Homer:
"There is a time for many words, and there is also a time for sleep." Homer, The Odyssey
After a week here, I need it.
What do you think?