In 1957, two people met that would change creativity forever.
It was in a church of all places and the two quickly recognised each others' talents.
It is said that a mutual friend introduced them at a concert where one of them was performing, and they apparently just hit it off with their mutual love of music.
Although very different people, they went on to write some of the best songs ever written. And in doing so, they set a new tone for society. For the world, in fact. That pair was John Lennon and Paul McCartney and we all know the rest of this story, so I won’t bore you with it.
More recently but still over two decades ago, again two people met that again would change creativity forever.
This time it was in the radio industry in 1997, but before then they both were on very different paths ... one was a stand up comic and the other had a mildly successful career as a pop star.
They started out as colleagues and years later ended up writing one of the most successful comedies of all time, sold to 11 different countries around the world. That immortal show, of course, was The Office and the magical writing pair were Ricky Gervais and Steven Merchant.
I could go on forever, Jerry Seinfeld and Larry David, Elton John and Bernard Taupin, the Cohen Brothers, Simon and Garfunkel … the list goes on and on of greatness coming from just two minds.
There's a growing trend in advertising to collaborate with a committee of people, because, you know, great ideas can come from anywhere.
History shows the greatest songs, movies, and TV shows come from either one or two brains and the same invariably holds true in advertising. Devolve the creative process to more than one or two like-minded people, and you will end up with a bland, uninspirational results.
Bill Bernbach began the idea of pairing a Copywriter and an Art Director together back in the late 1950s. He knew how greatness is created and that definitely not by committee.
Committees are where good ideas go to die.
There are many reasons why a room full of people coming up with ideas is a bad idea.
For one thing, humans act differently when they're with a bunch of people as opposed to say one or two in a room. Showboating comes into play, anxiety, insecurities and embarrassment can kick in, it’s essentially a room full of egos and nobody wins - especially not the client. More than that, people are so innately keen to co-operate that they’ll co-operate on anything, no matter how boring or ineffectual. It’s called Groupthink, and it’s deadly to the creative process.
I mean, could you imagine John Lennon and Paul McCartney looking at each other and saying ‘We’re a little stuck, let’s get the producers, agents and Joe Blow in a room and spitball some ideas for the next album?" It simply wouldn’t happen because the genius came from these two men and the chemistry they had with each other, and they knew it.
Much like in advertising, when a Copywriter and an Art Director click, magic is made.
Let’s get back to making magic and ditch this idea by committee bullshit. Because nothing great is made by committee.
Written By Pat Langton - Creative Director/Partner