Undoing The “Creative Sensibility” Oxymoron

Ad Age enlisted Conor Brady, chief creative officer at Organic, to help explain the new playing field agency personnel find themselves on today.
Brady says we’re entering “the age of creative sensibility” which he characterizes as “a dramatic shift from the ‘big agency’ practices of the past.”
Specifically, Brady says creative directors today need to collaborate with peers outside the creative department, embrace measurement and admit that they’re wrong from time to time.
He argues that the day when a charismatic creative director could wink and say, “Trust me, this is a big idea,” are over. What do you think? Are those days over? I don’t believe they are over, any more than I believe TV is dead, or print is dead.
Here’s what I do believe: money is tight, and one’s big ideas better deliver for the client. A creative director can dance with media buyers, point to data trends in a pretty chart and say they’re sorry for all the attitude, but that doesn’t release them from the hard work of discovering the best ideas and making them stick.

About David Burn

Co-founder and editor of AdPulp. I wrote my first ad for a political candidate when I was 17 years old. She won her race and I felt the seductive power of advertising for the first time. I worked for seven agencies in five states before launching my own practice in 2009. Today, I am head of brand strategy and creative at Bonehook in Portland, Oregon.


  1. Brady’s comments might have sounded more interesting if he had clearly great work to prove his points. But even what’s on Organic’s website is hardly groundbreaking. I wish the “thought leaders” would spend less time talking about change and more time generating work that demonstrates change. Walk the walk before you talk the talk. Just a thought.

  2. who is this conor brady dude and what on earth is he talking about? has he ever come up with a big idea?
    here’s my favorite bit:
    “In future columns I look forward to expanding these themes and laying out the full creative sensibility doctrine.”
    He has a “doctrine! FUTURE columns?

  3. Glad I’m not the only one non-plussed by Mr. Brady. I guess what concerns me about his perspective is that he makes collaboration sound like concession. I’m sorry, but if you want to create great work – whether you’re in the digital, advertising, direct, promotions, whatever – you have to be a leader. Brady’s words don’t sound like leadership to me. BTW, can anyone tell me why just about every digital agency seems to fire and recycle creative directors annually? When it comes to leadership retention, these places are just as bad – and in many ways worse – than the typical big ad agency. Also, Robert Greenberg has been routinely presenting his “doctrine” for future agencies via Adweek columns for the past year – and at least he has solid work to justify/validate his perspectives.