The one sentence summary

Modern creative people need to ignore the conventions of advertising, generate broad-ranging ideas, and prototype them fast.


  • This is a compendium of essays by members of Creative Social, a forum claiming to represent advertising’s next generation.
  • It is loosely grouped into sections on advertising, creativity, culture, education, innovation and the future.
  • Taking the title at face value, modern creative people need to generate a wide range of ideas fast, prototype them as often as possible, not be afraid to take ideas from one place to another, and then pass on the good work.
  • As a broad theme, most of the authors seem dissatisfied with the industry in which they work (but not dissatisfied enough to leave it, it would seem).
  • Themes include:
  • Close the commercial gap: the industry remains too self-seeking.
  • Put real people at the heart of things: there’s too much art for art’s sake.
  • Experiment more: too many agencies just resort to TV ads.
  • Rediscover a healthy disregard for advertising: look to other media.
  • Think of a small budget as a blessing, not a constraint.
  • Use small guerrilla teams and move fast.
  • Don’t be afraid to copy, so long as you move to a more interesting place.
  • You can be afraid and confident at the same time.
  • Punch procrastination in the face: get on with it.
  • Embrace your area of incompetence: in the interests of learning something new.
  • Make things people want and make people want things.


  • Author themes coalesce quite well in the Room 101 appendix. Things they would like to get rid of include:
  • Advertising itself
  • The distinction between ATL and BTL (above and below the line)
  • Ego
  • The word consumer (try people instead)
  • Storytelling
  • The words brand, innovation and ideation
  • The provocateur label
  • Testing and focus groups
  • Real time marketing
  • Bad internships


  • Diversity in a collection of essays can be both a strength and weakness. It’s stimulating overall, but there is no central point.
  • The title is apparently a play on Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy, the 1974 novel by John Le Carre, but it wasn’t obvious to me.