The Creative Mystique

John M. Keil, the executive creative director of Dancer Fitzgerald Sample Advertising Agency, has learned through experience how to work successfully with creative people in a business setting. His thesis is that every creative project needs clearly stated objectives, an identification of the target audience, and defined thought (or theme) to be conveyed.

It is the responsibility of the supervisor to clarify the objectives and the strategy. He must make sure the creative person has the time, ability, and courage to accomplish the task. To do this, it is essential that he understand the work habits and capabilities of his staff members. Keil also offers guidance in troubleshooting, or identifying why a project is bogging down, and in judging the end product. He also covers hiring, evaluating, and firing creative people. One chapter discusses research--how it can help, and when it is a hindrance.

Examples in the book are all drawn from the advertising world. Thus, the book provides insight into that fascinating profession. The narrow focus, however, does limit its usefulness. The reader needs to see how these principles of nurturing and managing creative talent would apply in other fields.

Although this is Keil’s first book, it is clearly written, often entertaining, and (following Keil’s own advice) has well-stated objectives that are expanded upon with effective illustrations.