Sing a Different Tune

How to feed your creativity at work.
Image: Fionn Kidney

When I was growing up, the stereo in our living room, under the watchful eye of my Dad, would blast out The Beatles. Week in. Week out. Growing up in a music loving household isn’t uncommon but things were a little different in the home of Amy Winehouse.

Her family were lovers of jazz and R&B, some of whom were professional jazz musicians. Throughout her childhood, the likes of Dinah Washington, Thelonious Monk and Sarah Vaughan bounced off the walls and into her head.

As she grew older and began to set her sights on becoming a musician, it wasn’t Whitney Houston or Madonna who influenced her but Dinah Washington and Ella Fitzgerald. Creating a style so completely unique, she stood out a mile from the other musicians of her generation. Had she just copied the artists filling the charts at the time, her music would be nothing like what we all grew to love.

It’s quite commonplace for people in and outside of the marketing industry to moan about the familiarity of advertising today. It’s usually the clients who get the blame but I think there is also another reason – our inspiration.

So many agencies are fishing in the same waters. The same comedy shows. The same award sites. The same galleries. The same ‘cool’ websites. To be truly different you have to start from somewhere different.

With the internet at our disposal, it’s never been easier to dig a little deeper and discover the lesser known weird, amusing and heartfelt content and experiences that are happening in the quieter corners of the world every single day.

Although it isn’t the only way to answer a brief, immersing ourselves in the creativity of others can be an incredibly inspiring and useful tool. But if everyone is looking in the same place, we’ll always end up with the same work.

Tears Dry On Their Own ’06.

Dinah Washington – I Don’t Hurt ’56.

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