The Power of NO – Creative Social Tells London’s Creative Community to Say No

What is your relationship with NO? It is an intriguing question and if you are a creative or work with creatives then it is a word you could have a particularly interesting relationship with.

At the April 2012 this was the theme and as always it was dealt with in a high tempo, plenty of swearing, left and right of center point of view.Source sponsored Creative Social presents No

Source are a sponsor of Creative Social. It is a great night to enjoy a new perspective and to meet people from the top of London’s creative agency industry. You can see videos from this and other events on our YouTube channel. The evening never fails to get me thinking – and this month it was about NO.

How To Shout No


Shout it out it out now.


Not in your head. Actually blast one out for all those around you to hear…


Top Speakers From London’s Creative Industry

It’s quite an easy word to say. Actually, its almost liberating. Not enough is it used I am hearing tonight. As usual at Creative Social the speakers are senior creative bods from London’s advertising, marketing and digital agencies.

Flo Heiss, Executive Creative Director, Dare @FloHeiss
Sam Ball, Creative Partner, Lean Mean Fighting Machine @samuelball
Steve Price, Creative Director, Plan-B Studio @PlanBstudio
Laura Jordan Bambatch, Creative Director, Dare @laurajbee
Becky Power, Executive Creative Director, Grand Union @beckypower
Andy Sandoz, Creative Partner & Innovation Director, Work Club @Sandoz

Say No Or Expect To Do The Stuff You Don’t Like

In all aspects of creativity there is an opportunity to say No. No to the norm, no to doing work you are not inspired by, no to the client who can’t see the vision you have seen. Steve Price warned if we say Yes to everything then expect to do stuff you don’t like! And, Sam Ball followed the same tact asking why we should believe the made up mantras that we are expected to believe. Should brands really only tweet three times a day? NO!

There is also a responsibility to be taken in the No. Andy Sandoz kicked of his #Nofilter talk with this valuable reminder for anyone trying to create a collaborative working team. He is right. If you are bold enough to say No, then you need to be equally bold in stepping up to create the Yes.

Not enough people appreciate there is a responsibility to forward the conversation. No without a clear vision as to why and what it would take to turn it into a yes won’t create results. From both a client to agency and a creative to client services perspective those days have surely moved on. There has to be a collaborative approach to resolving the No. I really enjoyed this presentation and you can see the Andy Sandoz #NOfilter slides on Instagram.

How To Get The Client To Say Yes

What about the alternative? The YES instead of the NO. Sometimes, as Becky Power suggested – the NO is too easy. It is the YES that takes the balls. Knowing what it takes to get that YES is not necessarily hard if you know what has gone into the NO. Becky posed the question ‘How did they get away with that?” and looked at what it takes for clients to say YES to your bold creative idea the Agency needs to know what it is at stake. It is this that leads to the No. Showing examples of Marmite and Pot Noodle advertising she illustrated that these campaigns were a definite No until the reasons for the response was understood. Once dealt with the confidence and trust needed for the Yes was created and the campaigns ended up being a great success.

Creative’s Should Say No To Desks

For all creative people – in fact, for everyone – the need to take say No a bit more often is vital. You have to take time out; you have to question what you see. If you fail to say No every now and again we are left with a strange reality. Creative people who sit at the same desk everyday? Say No to desks. Creative job applications sent via email with pdf’s? Say No to that to.

When Doing No-thing Matters

Flo Heiss, Executive Creative Director at Dare took it a step further. Ingenuously (for anyone who doesn’t like public speaking) Flo took the opportunity to illustrate the No in Nothing.  “Take time to notice the moment. Stop interrupting every quality experience to send a tweet. Don’t record the concert for later – bloody enjoy it whilst you are there! Take a breath. Take a walk. Take the time to be inspired.” I’ve paraphrased but that sums up his call to arms for No.

To enjoy the tweets from the night with some illuminating quotes from the speakers see our Top Ten Tweets from Creative Social presents NO.

What Do You Say When You Hear No?

So what do you say No to? What do you say when the ‘suits’ say No to your creative? What do you say Yes to? What about the people out there who wont say either? Perhaps they are really the ones who are killing creative. Tell us your thoughts and experiences in the comments below