I recently finished watching ‘The Defiant Ones’ on Netflix. Its a 4-part documentary series by HBO. It looks at the musical journey of Dr. Dre, the acclaimed artist and Jimmy Iovine, the record producer. Dr. Dre is the quiet imaginative wizard, who essentially gives birth to gangsta rap genre, while Jimmy Iovine is the brash record producer who tries to get the best out of the artists around him, producing hit record after record, finding talent like Gwen Stefani, Eminem, and Snoop Dogg. The whole series was raw and inspiring, a punch to your gut to go out there and create something of your own.
I also recently heard Mr. Prasoon Joshi speak. He’s a legendary adman, lyricist and writer in India, famous for writing some of India’s most loved ads. He spoke about creating his Cannes-winning campaign ’Thanda Matlab Coca-Cola‘ of the 90s. It was a treat to listen to him recount his stories.
While Prasoon’s jingle idea was amazing, I think the Coke Brand Manager who wrote the Creative Brief should also be applauded. That guy was so clear as to what Coke stood for, and he could articulate it to someone else. Unless Prasoon was clear what Coke meant or what the jingle had to communicate, he couldn’t have coined 'Thanda Matlab Coca-Cola’. It was a two-man job for sure. To extend this analogy, I look at Jimmy Iovine as this Brand Manager, who is clear what he wants his creative output to be. He has articulated it to his artists, and he is going to get it from them.
I think of this often. What do I do better - the writer who writes the iconic jingle, or the guy who writes the Brief? There is merit in being either - one couldn’t perform without the other, and the creative output would never reach the height it can without both participants. I think I can contribute to the creative process more as the latter - being the Jimmy Iovine to an Eminem. That is where I am most comfortable - prodding, articulating, and pushing people and participating in making something truly original. Hopefully I’ll get to that stage soon. The question is, what are you?