This year at the Cannes Lions Festival of Creativity I was fortunate enough to work with the inspiring and wise Chairman Emeritus of DDB worldwide, the mighty Keith Reinhard. Not hailing from an advertising background myself, I’m ashamed to say that I did not know just how much of a key figure and legend in the advertising industry Keith is. I soon discovered that Keith is considered one of the ‘real’ mad men of the 1960’s and 70’s, was inducted into the Advertising Hall of Fame in 2008 and has served on the juries at Cannes as president countless times. As a working creative, Reinhard created the Hamburglar and created the famous McDonald’s strapline “You Deserve a Break Today” and for the Big Mac tongue twister, “Two-all-beef-patties-special-sauce-lettuce-cheese-pickles-onions, on a sesame seed bun.”
DDB Worldwide ranks among the world’s largest and most awarded creative advertising agency networks across the world. Probably just as well I didn’t realise all this before I met him or I may just have been a bit star-struck. Keith was Chairman on the Masters of Creativity week-long workshop at Cannes, where I was working alongside him as a mentor to the delegates. I was struck by his generosity, humility and absolute mastery in his subject. We laughed a lot and his soft-spoken words of advice were absolutely lapped up by 60 delegates all hoping to glean insights into a stellar career – they did not leave disappointed!
Keith gave me a copy of his book, Any Wednesday, which I am currently opening at random every Wednesday to enjoy his stories and inspirational tales. It’s a compilation of 2 year’s worth of Keith’s one-page weekly memo that he sent to his team at DDB every week between 19080 and 2003. It’s a brilliant read and each week I imagine for just a second what it must have been like to work for such a visionary, yet grounded in reality boss. I’m often asked to recommend creativity books and this one is a must. I’m writing my own book on creativity at the moment and in my dark moments (there are a few) I try to channel Keith’s wisdom to keep me going. Here’s the quote I opened up today:
Inspired by Failure. It’s reported that Issey Miyake, the innovative Japanese fashion designer, instructs his fabric makers to show him all their failures. According to Miyake, the failures give him inspiration. To me, the fact that Miyake draws inspiration from failures affirms one of our own four freedoms – the Freedom to Fail. If we don’t open the door to failure, we reduce the opportunities to succeed. And we eliminate the chance to learn from our mistakes.