This article was originally published on reverb, Drake Cooper’s reflections on advertising, creativity, and trends. Read more.

It’s the Economy, Stupid

Ahh, the Ragin’ Cajun had it right.

(Although you should never call anyone “stupid.”)

Rip on capitalism and don your Che t-shirts all you want, but as it stands, we live in a system where our day-to-day bread & butter depends on things like profits and losses.

And if there were no big businesses with large budgets to spend on things like marketing and advertising, well…then there’d be no marketing or advertising.

In the movie “Art & Copy,” I believe director Doug Pray eloquently describes advertising and marketing as “art serving capitalism.” Art can exist independent of capitalism; I suppose marketing and advertising can too. They just won’t pay for your bread and butter unless you practice them for a money-making entity.

What’s the point?

Drake Cooper CEO Jamie Cooper recently returned from a magnet conference in Philadelphia. Based on his report back from the conference, smart advertising and marketing agencies are aggressively shifting their business approach from “look at the mind-blowing creative eye candy we can produce,” to an approach that asks “what are the fundamental glitches in your business model and how can we apply some creativity to help you fix those glitches and make more money?”

Duh, right?

Well, that should be a “duh” concept. But it may be one that’s been easy to ignore in times of economic growth and prosperity. I think that many of us in this industry who fancy ourselves writers, artists, or maestros of distinct creative talents, have in the past produced work solely to showcase our own mad skills, as opposed to produce work that truly helps our clients solve their fundamental business problems and then make more money.

The current economic state has served as a gut-check to the entire industry. In the end I believe is a great thing. It seems the leadership at Drake Cooper does as well.

Amidst all the losses and despite lacking profits, there are countless challenges/opportunities to help businesses identify their glitches and, with a little help from business-savvy and intelligent creativity, to help them score great victories in a bad economy.

At the end of the day though, it is the economy. And respecting that is anything but stupid.