“Faced With A Choice Between Red Or Blue, Most Brands Choose Grey”: Creative Guru Jim Bull

“Faced With A Choice Between Red Or Blue, Most Brands Choose Grey”: Creative Guru Jim Bull

Marketing has gone conservative, fitting in is the latest trend, and brands don’t care about being bold and innovative. At least that’s the sentiments of co-founder and chief creative officer of global creative agency Moving Brands, Jim Bull.

Hannah Edensor
Posted by Hannah Edensor

“The advancement of technology and information has driven that change so far, but we are fast approaching a saturation point where brands, online products, apps, services and tools are all feeling very similar,” Bull told B&T.  

“This could be because we have perfected the art of creating experiences or the influx in design has also meant a tendency to copy and emulate rather than push the boundaries of creativity.

“In my opinion the rise of conservatism in marketing is very obvious,” he added.

“When was the last time an ad, brand or campaign made people stop and think, that challenged people’s perceptions, that had strength and a clear voice of differentiation? That used to be what a brand strived for – to differentiate itself, to stand out – but now it appears the trend is towards fitting in.

“The influx of information and the speed at which a campaign can go global, be loved, hated, commented on has added to this conservatism and unwillingness to be bold and brave. Faced with a choice between red or blue, most brands choose grey.

“To me, trends are graveyards for creativity. You can understand them, tackle them, react to them but never follow them. Leave that to everyone else.”

Asked how he finds inspiration to constantly keep innovating, Bull said he has an interesting and frankly, odd, way of finding ideas.

This is going to sound weird but I have a technique for creating new ideas. It has some basis in free association where I link seemingly irrelevant or random objects or moments together while at the same time focussing on the challenge at hand.

“I stare into the challenge, let the idea of it, the feeling of it, occupy my mind and the focus is then shifted to a completely different object, person, word or visual. Continuing to stare at that new moment reveals new perspectives and ways of thinking about the challenge.

“I trust free association much more than simply making sense of the data at hand.

I think we are at a weird stage in the evolution of design. It has gone from a largely unclear skill to a core business need in the space of a decade. I can only predict that the same will happen in the next decade.

“But never reference design to create design. Look wider and deeper and find the amazing.”