Creativity, art and advertising is a reaction to the world around us

Chaka Sobhani: co-chair of Campaign Big Awards
Chaka Sobhani: co-chair of Campaign Big Awards

Creatives, writers and artists all have their own methods when it comes to thinking up ideas, says Chaka Sobhani, the chief creative officer at Leo Burnett and co-chair of the Campaign Big Awards.

Haruki Murami goes for a 10km run everyday to get the creative juices going, while Truman Capote, who called himself a "horizontal writer", didn’t feel the need to stray from his bed.

You could try and ape what some of the greats do to get to their level. But, clearly, it’s not about the sort of environment or mental state you put yourself in, it’s about how you react to it. Much, arguably way too much, has been written and talked about the creative process. Creativity is something we could spend a lifetime pontificating on without actually doing anything about it.

What’s easier to pin down is the power that creative work can have. It’s the same for advertising as it is for film, literature, TV, theatre, art, dance or music.

It’s those ideas and stories that connect people, inspire them, make them think, act or just piss their pants laughing.

The impact great work can have on us is boundless. Watch the Nike "Nothing Beats a Londoner" film and try not feel your heart pound louder and prouder. Or take in some of the unmitigated sass of Adam & Eve/DDB’s gloriously choreographed creations for H&M, and tell me you don’t feel a bit tingly. It’s even more inspirational when a creative idea also has the ability to positively transform the world around it, literally, like the "Trash Isles" from Abbott Mead Vickers BBDO and Lad Bible.

Being a Campaign Big Awards judge this year puts me in the privileged position of getting more people to sit up and take notice of the best work out there and get excited by it.

Whether it’s the return to truly great comedy with the brilliant "It’s a Tide Ad" to the ingeniously silly "Marmite Gene Project", it definitely feels like there is a move to more confident, more entertaining and more joyous work. 

I don’t think it’s a result of a collective coming together against a backdrop of uncertain times - creatives don’t have the time or inclination to come up with and self-consciously stick to a uniting theme for their year’s work – but it is definitely a reaction to the world around us. Which is ultimately what great creativity and art (and advertising) should be.

Chaka Sobhani is chief creative officer at Leo Burnett and co-chair of the Campaign Big Awards

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