ethanbeute

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Tag: creative

Celebrating Constraint: “Creative within Our Fences”

“I always say we’re incredibly creative within our fences, because I don’t feel like we’re pushing boundaries. We’re very creative within our fences, and because we have the fences, they make for very creative moments.

“We come up with some stuff that I don’t think any of us would’ve come up with had we not had the fences. There’s a lot of other things that I wouldn’t have done visually had we not had the fences and I think they’re better sometimes.”

Shonda Rhimes, creator of Gray’s Anatomy and Scandal and executive producer of How To Get Away with Murder (together, the 3 shows are ABC’s Thursday prime time lineup), shared these words on Fresh Air with Terri Gross on NPR. Hear the interview here.

Asked about working on network television rather than on cable, which is far less restricted in content and language, Rhimes sees FCC broadcast rules as her “fences.” Through these words, constraint is not only embraced, it’s credited with forcing creative solutions.

 

Hearing this interview inspired me finally to sit down and organize my thoughts around this long felt and frequently experienced dynamic.

Twitter‘s 140 character limit. Instagram‘s square images. Ignite‘s 5 minutes, 20 slides, and 15 seconds.

Boundaries, rules, constraints. Operating with lines and limits seems like something many of us view with disdain. We want to be free!

 

But Rhimes’ fences change our approach. They change the puzzle. We approach, decide, edit, and solve differently.

Finding success in spite of limits has been fundamental to scientific, engineering, medical, and other breakthroughs that improve our quality of life and redefine what’s possible.

Now, a short celebration and warm embrace of creativity from constraint.

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Toyota: Finding Its Compass

Nearly two months ago to the day (July 9), I posted about Toyota’s incredible run on “safety” as a campaign message.

That post, “Toyota: Lost in the Wilderness?,” is right here.

Its thrust: given all the recalls and problems, are they already done with this “safety” push?  It seems so, given some new social media-oriented, reliability-themed spots I’ve seen.  Just as I was noticing how blatant the safety sell was, both in print and on-air, some fun, story-based spots started showing up in the ad mix.  I found it problematic – a premature watering-down of the critical “safety” theme.

This is a company whose entire brand was built on reliability.  Since November, though, it’s recalled more than 10,000,000 cars in the United States.  The brand name repeatedly made headlines about sticky gas pedals and sudden acceleration.  They made a brief, hard run at “safety,” but seemed to be flitting off in other directions after just a couple months.

Toyota Safety Reliability Durability Message Ad Advertising Message Campaign Perception Reality

Toyota Commits to the Safety Message

This morning, I was flipping through a recent issue of Advertising Age and read this headline:  “Toyota to Push Safety in Ad Blitz.”  I thought I was reading a back issue, but no … it’s dated September 6, 2010.  The story’s a bit longer online than in print and can be read here.

Basically, Saatchi Los Angeles is building more creative elements to support the safety message – with an emphasis on the STAR Safety System.  The campaign will run “well into 2011.”  The renewed push is likely spurred by horrific August sales figures.

Sounds like they’ve found their compass.

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