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June 4, 2011
Gone Corporate: Creativity? What's That?
The following is a real-life example from the real world. It really happened. For real. Do not attempt at home.

So another department opens a project with Marketing, seeking name ideas for an internal blog they were starting. The purpose of the blog was to keep the department’s employees up-to-date on a major change occurring over the next few months.

The email actually stated that “we need a fancy, schmancy title, or at least something cool, for the project.” (That’s verbatim, folks.)

SO...I came up with a dozen options, a couple of which I was rather proud of. My boss added a few into the mix as well.

We weren’t privy to any of the internal discussions or the decision-making process, so we shouldn’t have been surprised to see that the final selection was quite possibly the blandest, lamest, yawniest concept on the list.

SIDEBAR: If I had been working at an agency on this project, either my Creative Director or I would have taken it off the list for fear that it would actually be selected. Remember the old adage: “If you don’t want them to choose it, don’t show it.”

Now, is this a major issue in my life? The end of the world? The most important issue in the marketing industry? No.

But when you pound your head against the wall (figuratively; my cranium is too pretty to damage) and come up with a decent list of name concepts — some that you really believe would get a chuckle from the audience — you really hope that the decision maker(s) will “get it” and choose one of the good ones.

In the agency world, whether “one of the good ones” gets picked all depends on the client. In the corporate world, the odds are the same or worse, because most of those folks have a VERY different definition of “creative,” like wearing a striped tie instead of a solid color.

There was no opportunity to plead our case. In fact, I might have never known the name they picked, except that I was forwarded an email in which they announced the blog’s creation. And I actually winced when I saw the name they chose. They even said in the email:

“We are going to name the blog [CHEESY NAME].” Not “we’re going to launch” or “we’re excited to announce”— just “we are going to name the blog.”

Eh. What’s in a name, anyway? (See, I AM a hack. Only a copywriter would end by vaguely ripping off Shakespeare.)

NEXT TIME: “The big corporate boss used to be a copywriter? Huh.”

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After a year of creative incarceration in Corporate World, your beloved Corporate Hack finally distracted the guards, outran the bloodhounds and scaled the wall to make his escape. Now that he’s back where he belongs in Ad World, he’s re-branded himself as The Inside Man...but he’s still having Ad-Verse Reactions. 
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