GUEST CREATOR: Crina Frătean
Dissecting the Message: One Communicator's Odyssey
When I was young, I was a Sailor Moon expert, making dresses from old fabric, drawing like Disney was about to hire me, fearing thunderstorms, and playing detective with TV ads to figure out which agency was behind them. I could spot a Leo Burnet add in 4 seconds based on their storytelling and how they crafted messages, a skill I have yet to make money out of.
Now, I’m no longer young, I’m not a fashion designer, and I’ve swapped drawing for photography. Thunder still scares me, and I can’t pinpoint what is the essence of the messaging in 2023. The emotional pull of ads no longer resonates with me.
What ignites my neurons these days? It’s dissecting the channel mix, analyzing target audiences, and pondering why. Could I estimate the countless calibration meetings behind the scenes? Kind of takes the whimsy out, doesn’t it? And it gets worse, I’m using the same lens to look beyond just the ads and dissect the world at large and around me. I’ve made myself believe that deconstructing the world, much like I do with creative briefs, is a pretty valid way of life. But as the kids say, “It’s not the move.”
So, I can analyze and package human connections for sale – fantastic! But have I lost the ability to connect with people? And the world? Well…
Working in communications, I made a deliberate choice to dive into the realm of examining and reshaping human connections, and people actually pay me for it. Sounds amazing, right? Well, it did, until the grind of the industry got to me.
You’re constantly asked to stretch your creativity in every direction, knowing that only one in about fifty ideas will make it. Creative thinking isn’t just a switch you can flick on and off.
Often, there’s an emotional attachment to an idea and a sense of responsibility for its impact. It’s no wonder that, at least for me, the constant churn dampens my ability to connect with people. It’s like seeing how sausages are made and then making them in forty different ways. After a while, you’d rather not see meat or people eating it.
As I make this grand realization, there are three screens in front of me and a massive window that keeps drawing my eyes. Part of the sausage-making process is staying perpetually informed. I’m sure most jobs demand a degree of research and staying up-to-date, but for a communicator like me, it means dissecting every piece of information that hits my retinas in less than six seconds (not as fast as I used to be but still close).
In today’s world of digital overload, it’s about dismantling the strategies behind the information. That’s if you don’t succumb to the dopamine rush, akin to crack cocaine, that comes with it. And amidst it all, you’re not getting closer to understanding the human aspect of the message; you’re swimming in a sea of data-driven algorithms understanding more about the platforms rather than their users.
So, why am I glued to three screens at all times? It’s not just to marvel at their technical wizardry or enjoy picking apart algorithms; it’s because of the constant information deluge.
Aldous Huxley once saw a dystopian society not as one devoid of information but as one where people had no idea what’s what (a rough summary of “Brave New World”). Looking at the world today, his ideas don’t seem so far-fetched, do they? We can’t deny that with all this information at hand, people, societies, and communities can’t seem to find a way forward although there is a desperate need for one.
I could argue that those in communication and marketing bear a moral responsibility, but I can already hear the Marcomm folks shouting at me to be quiet. While I may be losing hope in this industry personally, I see agencies out there performing like Leo Burnett used to when I was a TV-addicted kid. Whatever they’re sipping at Publicis Italy, Le Pub, and Ogilvy’s Behavioral teams, sign me up.
So yes, information overload is frustrating; it breeds confusion. We’re all stuck in this whirlwind as both consumers and professionals. Yet, hats off to those who see beyond the chaos and return to the roots of connecting with people on a human level.
Sure, it’s about selling things and not saving the world, but I’ll let you know that the number of agencies dedicated to social causes is on the rise.
Working in this field feels like being a sociologist and a psychologist rolled into one, with a massive dose of creativity and a deep love for art. If you can nurture these facets and refine your craft, not just for selling but for connecting, it might bring us closer to meaningful human interactions, be it in our professional or personal lives.
Thanks for indulging me as I rambled on, and yeah….I wrote this article 6 times this is the least gloomy of them. Chat Gpt helped not going to lie, so yeah… stay real y’all and enjoy your craft!
Until next time,
JOCstudio’s note. With the guest creators’ series on our website, we hope to build a safe space for creatives to share their very personal experiences in the professional environment. Let’s talk about mental health, inclusivity, diversity, and equity. How’s your workplace culture doing?