The Idea of Curators Over Creative Directors Does Nothing But Atrophy the Creative Muscle

By: Corien de Jong

Business is changing and advertising is no exception.

However, completely eliminating a key piece of the advertising anatomy is short-sighted and carries dangerous implications. I recently read Is Crowdsourcing Turning Creative Directors Into Curators? and feel strongly that too many agencies are jumping to conclusions in the name of a quick buck. Instead, it’s important to embrace opportunity while maintaining the integrity of the industry.   

Coming up with a new creative solution, like crowdsourcing, is great and I support it wholeheartedly. But does it mean we all have to jump on the crowdsourcing bandwagon and proclaim it to be the one and only way forward? As a result, should we do away with roles like creative director to rename them curators of ideas instead? Do we uproot the way we approach creative?

The answer to all of these questions is absolutely not.

Outsourcing, insourcing, crowdsourcing, whateversourcing…it all serves its purpose in the marketplace and is tied to the ebbs and flows of the creative process. With regards to the specific suggestion of moving away from creative directors in favor of curators, I see the following potential threats:

A curator will not set creative standards.

A curator will not mentor his/her team of junior creatives.

A curator will not be able to show how to be a creative.

A curator will not be able to solicit or demand respect from the team.

A curator will not be able to improve the quality of the work.

The key attributes and functions listed above are central and unique to the role of creative director. And once a creative team is reduced to executing rather than ideating, you comprise their ability to think. You will not only dull their senses, but motivation will plummet and your most talented individuals will find greener, more creative pastures. You will be left with nothing but a curator puppet.

I certainly appreciate the idea of disruptive thinking but this idea of curators over creative directors does nothing but atrophy the creative muscle that our clients rely on to develop trend-setting work.  

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