“I tell people we just get to have a nice time and that it’s a bit of a silly job,” jokes Emily Jeffrey-Barrett, founder of Among Equals, a London-based agency, who says defining what she does is often more show and tell. “I point out a current campaign then explain how it was put together.”
Maybe it’s the seemingly excessive exhausting travel, or the fact that we sometimes drop a piece of NDA-protected knowledge (read: the launch of new sneaks, the premier of a film, the distracting rebrand of a tech juggernaut), but the people who consider a creative director, a strategy director, a managing director, an art buyer — and folks in so many other roles — a best friend are often left scratching their heads over the cool shit we get to do.
Cool shit aside, “We turn air into reality,” says William Esparza, founder of Hyphenated, a Los Angeles-based agency. Ok, so maybe it’s answers like this that don’t help, but if you’re one of us … you just get what Esparza is implying. “We’re making connections that other people have not seen. We turn that into material that informs what brands need to become.”
William Esparza, Founder Hyphenated
And this is the premise that inspires many of us, and we even take some pride in presuming that what we help brands do may help those brands help the world.
Herein lies the irony of what we creatives actually are. We’re a set of thoughtful, egotistical, would-be spies that keep our eyes peeled and our ears open, looking for insights or clues that might help a brand, and thus the world, better know itself. And maybe, just maybe, we’ll do it in the right way and in the right moment, potentially moving society forward.
This is where we say that we may be the last, best hope for this moment. Yet, no one actually knows what we do … And maybe it’s better that way.