This McCann Mad Man Says Computers Have Destroyed Creativity

Greg Birbil worked at McCann for over 40 years. He started in 1961 and retired ten years ago. In an interview with Vulture, he relives some memories from the Mad Men era of advertising but has no kind words for the current state of things, especially the use of technology in creative departments.

Of that inevitable development, he says, "You know, I have a whole theory: I just think computers are not good for creative people. They’re a finishing-up tool, not the instrument to help you create. It’s not because I’m an old guy -- because I don’t respect or understand the value of the computer or the internet. It’s a pencil, an extremely fast pencil."

He continues: "But the computer guys, at a digital agency, they’ve got their heads in the screen all day and have absolutely no human skills. An art director in the old days was dealing with typesetters, photographers, the client. These guys don’t. You’re looking to make people see things in a new way, and if you’re in there looking for stuff, that won’t happen."

Is he right?



1 comment about "This McCann Mad Man Says Computers Have Destroyed Creativity".
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  1. Rob Donner from AudienceXpress, May 21, 2015 at 10:13 a.m.

    Yes he is right.  As a shining example, look at the logos of professional sports teams: in the pre-computer era, the logos were timeless and many are still in use today, best examples being the Montreal Canadiens, the New Jersey Devis, the NY Giants, et al.  Today's computerized logos look....computerized.  And they tend to change, because there's really nothing compelling about them.  Look at the Denver Broncos or New England Patriots' logos; the originals are/were classics and should never have been phased out.  The new ones will get replaced as soon as the owners decide they need to boost their team jersey sales.  Meanwhile the Red Wings, Candiens, Lakers, Bulls, and other old-style logo teams will keep selling their jerseys at a rapid clip because they're so much BETTER.  

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