Bill Bernbach on Creativity
William (Bill) Bernbach, the legendary founder of DDB (Doyle Dane Bernbach), noted for his devotion to creativity and offbeat themes was a major force behind the Creative Revolution of the 1960s and 1970s. His work often was characterised by simplicity. What is more, he was a philosopher, a scientist, and a humanitarian. The creative revolution he ignited changed the world of communications and business forever.
Bernbach won many awards and honours for his work within the advertising industry.
1964: Inducted into the Copywriters Hall of Fame
1964: Received the Man of the Year of Advertising
1965: Received the Man of the Year of Advertising
1966: Received The Pulse Inc., Man of the Year Award
1969: Named Top Advertising Agency Executive
1976: Received the American Academy of Achievement Award
1976: Inducted into the American Advertising Federation Hall of Fame
Bernbach designed the Advertising Hall of Fame Golden Ladder trophy.
Bob Levenson, the DDB (Doyle Dane Bernbach) captured the essence of the creative spirit of Bill Bill Bernbach in his brilliant book, Bernbach’s Book: A History of Advertising that Changed the History of Advertising.
What are the views and beliefs of one of the most creative brains of the advertising industry? Bernbach had very strong and clear views on what creativity is about. Here’s his take on creativity. It might as well serve as a guide to all creative persons in the world today, tomorrow and even the day after…
“1. Merely to let your imagination run riot to dream unrelated dreams, to indulge in graphic acrobatics and verbal gymnastics, is NOT being creative. The The creative person has harnessed his imagination. He has disciplined it so that every thought, every idea, every line he draws, every light and shadow in every photograph he takes, makes more vivid, more believable, more persuasive the original theme or product advantage he has decided he must convey.
2. The most important element for process in ad writing is the product itself. A ‘great’ campaign will only make a bad product fail faster. It will get more people to try it and find out how bad it is.
3. It is ironic that the very thing that is most suspect by business, that intangible thing called artistry, turns out to be the most practical tool available for it is only artistry that can vie with all the shocking news events and violence in the world for the attention of the consumer.
4. Principles endure, formulas don’t. You must get attention to your ad. this is a principle that will always be true. How you get attention is a subtle, ever-changing thing. What is attractive one day may be dull the next.
5. Logic and overanalyses can immobilise and sterilise an idea. It’s like love – – – the more you analyse it the faster it disappears.”