Stefan Sagmeister says you’re not a storyteller, calls you mean names

So, I’m a sucker for a good taking to task as much as the next guy, but let’s be honest, calling people fuckheads and crapping on their vision of their life isn’t going to endear you to anyone, at least not people whose opinion you should care about. That said, likability clearly isn’t the aim here, and there’s a relevant point to the commentary. We need less self aggrandizement in general, and this is definitely one way to make that point. To those who say you catch more flies with honey: True, but spiders catch more flies, and they bite…

This was bound to happen. It's just the next topic in a long conversation about the ad industry and its fullness of itself. If opinions matter, which is debatable, mine is that storytelling isn’t the problem, storytellers are. Telling a story is a great analogy for an experience that has a beginning, middle, and end. Understanding how to create things in that frame of reference is important and educational, I’d go so far as to say it’s a lost art. Using it as a sense of identity about what you are? I’ll refer you to Mr. Sagmeister. He makes some great points that literal storytellers often don't view themselves that way, and that's a problem.

If you enjoy a little abuse with your creative, and let's be honest, who in the ad world doesn't, you can catch more of Stefan Sagmeister ( Sagmeister & Walsh) speaking in September at the CAMP festival in partnership with FITC (They're the folks responsible for the original video).

Comments (2)

  • kidsleepy's picture

    Sounds like it's just Stefan being Stefan.

    I do think that "storyteller" is a phrase that is overused, especially by a group of more mediocre leaders who somehow feel that doing the same thing with a different name is akin to becoming more current. Let's face it, if you're making a thirty second spot it's a spot. You can call it a "film," because it lives on Youtube, but it's not. It's a TV spot on Youtube. And just because you suddenly decide you are a brand 'story teller,' it don't make it so.

    A lot of people in advertising live by the lexicon and therefore get called out by it, too. Rightly so, in my opinion. Some call it out more harshly than others, but not without reason.

    To your point though, it's not exactly inspiring to be shat upon by an elitist designer who is wealthy enough to take a year off every so often.

    From my perspective, it would be better if we all spent less time trying to come up with clever names for what we do, and spent more time actually doing what we do a whole lot better.

    Jul 30, 2014
  • fairuse's picture

    Interesting take on selling soap suds. I want those scrubbing bubbles to tell me the story of how hard they work for zero money and all. Yeah, tiny talking bubbles are a ... Sorry, i have no idea where that came from. It's entirely possible that "don'i click on that mashable article" warning I shrugged off has affected me more than I thought.

    I have wondered why folks in advertising spend much time on trying to call what they do something it isn't. My opinion is about the same as yours, kidsleepy. A true storyteller can write epic poem, novel, explain mystery of the universe to kids in a way that they can understand, and even read a story about an invisible being and extend it on Sunday morning . I for better or worse will never be a true story teller, a hack at best; cut/paste bits of other stories together in an attempt to be a storyteller. Those who are ad hacks are just doing the equivalent of that. Did I just hit a nerve? Maybe, because nobody wants to believe the art in advertising has been taken for granted by Suits-In-Holding-Corp. When the folks in charge start making up titles that are nothing but pushup bras for their ego it's a bad sign. I have seen similar behavior in manufacturing engineering; the smart ones leave and are replaced with talkers who are not doers. Fancy bullshit titles follow -- VP of Manufacturing Engineering becomes "Production Facilitator" or something.

    Bottom line. if the individual has to equate their part in what is a team of artists trying to figure a way to coax me into changing brands using a minute or less of TV ad to something they aren't -- does that person know what they should know?

    I just used up all I might know on this. All opinion guys -- blindfold and cig please.

    Aug 05, 2014

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