Musings about creativity and advertising


Many abstractions go into my approach to creativity and working in the creative field.


On sparks

You never know when inspiration can strike, but you can help it along. First, foster the idea that anything can inspire you. Kids screaming on the street. A cool, hipster craft beer bar. Bad traffic. A new exhibit at MoMA. It's all relative to keep your mind in a space to receive an idea, whether it's related to your immediate situation or not.

For example, I was recently mocking up military/tactical-themed social posts for SAM Medical and working on a food-related app (more on that in a later post) at a coffee shop, when I leaned back in my chair and noticed an ADT security panel. That made me think about door security in general and some of the technology I have been reading about lately in that space. And that gave me an idea that I want to explore for a future experiential event. Strange line of reasoning, but sparks nonetheless. All I had to do was be open to it, and write it down.

Joe Aimonetti
On New York City

Three weeks in and the mystique that accompanies the thought of living in New York is a real power. Buildings here are not just architecture, they're blank canvases, and landmarks, and art, and beacons. Every person, a possibility. Even traffic is more than a series of cars constantly on the verge of honking - it's an ever-changing obstacle course of live-action Frogger (or Crossy Roads for the younger kids). The energy is palpable. The inspiration is ripe and ready to be plucked. The opportunities are endless. Let's get to work >

Joe Aimonetti
On simplicity

At the heart of everything powerful lies something simple. Finding the simple truth in the creative problems we're trying to solve will lead us to ideas that strike a chord with our audiences.

Joe Aimonetti
On reality

Virtual or otherwise, the conversation about reality has been brewing for quite some time. With recent news that Samsung is working with the NBA to bring a streaming VR experience to its device owners, I wonder whether virtual reality is the entertainment platform of the future, or a ridiculously cool innovation that remains in the novelty/specialty category.

Personally, I feel like genuine experiences will outweigh the coolness of VR/AR down the road. While virtual experiences will offer an amazing opportunity to escape to far off lands, access exclusive events, and see life from multiple perspectives, there is one crucial element missing:


While VR can take me to Florence, it cannot give me the feeling I had when I actually went there of sitting on the stone steps of a building hundreds, or even thousands of years old, sipping a Tuscan red, breathing in the air, and snapping ridiculous selfies with the girlfriend. 

As a teaching tool, VR is promising. Being inside the ruins of ancient Greece while learning about the Trojan War would be epic. As an entertainment device, playing a gladiator game inside the actual Colosseum is a fun idea.

But as a replacement for authentic experiences, VR won't be able to measure up. In the case of the NBA, creating a more enriching arena experience - how fans view the game, what technology is available at their seats, how they can share what they're doing with their friends that aren't with them... that will be where the big need and opportunities will be.

Joe Aimonetti
On chaos

There is a certain calm that exists when life is at its most chaotic, like the eye of a hurricane that rests as the storm surges ahead. Finding that spot when clients, production issues, deadlines, or any other thing that can threaten any given project is essential to keeping your head above water. Personally, I thrive in the middle of the storm and look forward to those opportunities. 

Joe Aimonetti
On limited creativity

Maya Angelou says of creativity, the more you use, the more you have. I've always found that if I'm up against a project that doesn't seem to be going anywhere, I'll start talking about other ideas I have with someone. And in that moment of giving, those creative roadblocks tend to give way.

Creativity shares that quality with things like friendship, and love. If we continue to give, imagine what we can create!

Joe Aimonetti
On individuality

Creativity researcher and spelling bee instant exit word Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi posits in regards to shared traits of great creative minds: "They contain contradictory extremes; instead of being an 'individual', each of them is a 'multitude.'" 

As we continually seek unique ideas, we must remember that we are 'of everyone' when we create. The way in which we navigate those extremes will determine our creative acumen and ultimately our success.

Joe Aimonetti
On creative road blocks

It's easy to sit around and blame. To believe that factors outside your control conspired to concoct a plan to knock you off course. When you focus on the "why not", the road blocks are inevitable. 

Instead, re-focus on "how". On "why". Watch those deterrents dissipate. When we examine a problem by thinking about the positives, we find ourselves exploring positive solutions.

Joe Aimonetti
On beauty

A more subjective word in the English language is tough to come upon. Beauty is as polarizing as any politician, sports team, or social media platform. Poets, musicians, and artists have long attempted to quantify beauty.

I like to think of beauty as personal truth. When someone knows something to be true, that is beautiful. As it applies to storytelling, it is exposing these simple truths that allows for a transformative experience for our audience. Truth is disturbing, haunting, awe-inspiring, brutal, pure, honest, unforgettable. There's no formula, it just is. Beauty follows the same logic - it just is, in its form, in its truth.

Joe Aimonetti
On idea-making

A big idea is always grounded in a small truth. Observe the small things that drive choices and your big idea will inevitably fall out of that.

Joe Aimonetti
On questions

Pretty simple. Ask them. But not just any questions. And not just because you happen to not feel like doing the research to find the answer. Ask questions that spark conversations. That are inquisitive in that childlike manner... with wonderment. Ask questions that will help you figure things out. That will press the person you're asking to think deeper and ask their own questions. Questions lay the groundwork for solving most creative problems - so the better the question, the better the solution.

Joe Aimonetti
On checking your work

Whether you're prepping for a monster pitch deck, or simply responding to a client email, checking your work is a very important, and shockingly easy, step to ensure you don't make any bone-headed mistakes.

Of course, without the benefit of full-time copy editors for every form of written communication we send out, we're bound to miss some things. But, a few simple checks can help:

  • Did you spell everyone's name correctly?
  • Did you run spellcheck?
  • Did you use the correct it's/its, their/there/they're, and any other common grammatical mistakes?
  • Did you check all the dates, times, timezones, and any other factual information that could confuse someone if it's wrong?
  • Did I re-read it?

When you re-read what you've written, I have one general rule: If it sounds weird out loud, it isn't correct. And you're finished. Instant professionalism and much less opportunity for embarrassing mistakes.

Joe Aimonetti
On feelings

For all the analysis. All the marketing. Spreadsheets. Data points. Targets. Demographics. For all the strategy and all the numbers, sometimes this whole thing comes down to something as simple as a feeling.

No, not a gut that magically says, "yeah, that'll work." But rather, an innate understanding of how people feel when they watch a video, hear a song, read a story. And that's how we start a creative brief. If you know the feeling, you're well on your way.

Joe Aimonetti
On criticism

A wise fellow once told me, "criticize with questions, not statements."
Does that speak to you?

Joe Aimonetti
On messaging

No, not Snapchat.

Your message. Or more importantly, the message that is spread about you. Don Draper reminded us in Mad Men that if we don't like what's being said, change the conversation. To change the conversation, we must consider the people doing the talking. If the perception is negative, get them talking about positives. 

But it's not just a marketing trick. The other part of the equation is that you have to change the negative things about your business.

So for example: If people are complaining about your customer service, show them how great your product is while you work on making improvements to your CS. Then when they say, "yeah, but the service..." you've got a nice thing to come back with, "yes, we heard you."

Joe Aimonetti