The Great Steve Harrison – By @pzelizalde
By Patxi Elizalde
The Great Steve Harrison
After witnessing the greatness that is Steve Harrison, I left today’s masterclass feeling inspired. An endless stream of inspiration and quotes left with me with a whole new set of tools that I could now apply to my own work. I decided to dissect a few of his insightful quotes (both his own and other famous figures he mentioned) and integrate them into my own life, both for personal and career purposes.
“People will engage with what you have written if they can see themselves in the story that you are telling”
I thought this quote was particularly interesting, since the importance of relatable campaigns is constantly stressed; however, Harrison’s quote was a great take on this simple concept. At SCA, I feel we (or I…) sometimes find ourselves getting caught up trying to come up with that “big, crazy, fuck off idea,” causing us to neglect the human aspect of the audience, and in turn creating a campaign that ends up misunderstood. In the end, our primary role as advertisers is to tell a story that people will want to be a part of.
“Unless your advertising contains a big idea, it will pass like a ship in the night”
As an aspiring art director, I often find myself caught up in the execution rather than the idea itself. Working on it. However, keeping this quote in mind, I’m reminded the execution doesn’t matter if the idea has no interesting meaning or purpose. It’s also especially important now that we’ve finally begun to let our work see the light of the outside world at our agency book crits. It’s very evident that idea is king, and execution comes second. Moving forward, I intend to work more closely with my copywriter in an effort to refine the ideas to their greatest potential in order to let the artistic aspect follow with just as much principle.
“You are writing to intelligent apes”
Simple, and self explanatory but extremely important to keep in mind. While we of course want our ideas to come off as clever and creative, it’s necessary to remind ourselves who are audience is, which is a mass population of people like us, our mums, or our mates. Busy people, who don’t want to be sold to Busy people who want easier lives. Busy people who don’t necessarily have the patience for a clever, creative idea – unless it improves their world in some way.
Starting ideas off with clever insights and understandings is extremely important in a creative an effective idea, but it’s so important to boil the logistics down to its simplest form when delivering the final product to our audience. If you can’t explain the whole idea in a few seconds… or even just one sentence…you’re not there yet.
“Don’t rely on adjectives”
This one in particular was one of my favorites due to the fact that I had never really thought of writing in this way before. In traditional school and education settings we’re told adjectives are necessary in order to convey proper meaning and descriptions. However, when really thinking about it after Steve said this, adjectives really are a cop out if you’re not able to explain your idea clearly. If the idea is exceptional, the use of adjectives shouldn’t be necessary in order to convey it effectively. Hemingway knew.