Creatives are more gullible than other people.

Last week confirmed something I have long thought; I am gullible. April 1st is when I found out. I fell for at least two April fool’s jokes, and I think it’s because of my brain, or my outlook, or both. I think creative people may be more gullible than most.

What a fool

I fell for them spectacularly, especially the big one. When I arrived at work  I was soon accosted by an account handler who informed me that I had to work on an emergency job, which needed doing before lunchtime. A client of ours (a rather nice hotel) had decided to celebrate the recent law change which makes same-sex marriage legal, by launching it’s own gay marriage packages with a large party. I needed to write and design the email invite. Nothing unusual there, I thought, good idea.

Then the information kept flowing. The client has managed to get Ann Summers to take part in the evening, where they will bring along a large selection of toys; specifically for the target market in question. I was then provided with a link to these ‘aids’ for research purposes and for pictures to go in the email. Still I didn’t click.

Oh dear

In fact, I set about my research. I looked into the new law. I read views on it. I then looked into same-sex wedding themes and the wording of such wedding invites. I even went through the Ann Summers catalogue and decided which toys would be suitable for ‘insertion’ into the invite. By this time I had spent two hours on it! My colleagues, my boss and the client were in on it, and I hadn’t twigged. So they ramped it up.

The account handler complained that my work so far was too ‘classy’, and that he needed to send something out right now. I was getting peeved. The client then emailed claiming that the sort of imagery she wanted was men in just their pants, so could she have some of that please? I know what you’re thinking; this is obvious to anyone with half a brain right? Well, that’s my point. I had to be TOLD it was an April Fool’s joke before I stopped! I’d spent three hours on it by then, and nearly designed it; I’d done mood boards! I didn’t even know it WAS April 1st!

Half a brain

Maybe creative people effectively do have only half a brain sometimes. When being creative is your job, day in and day out, your brain works a bit differently. You’re expected to come up with new insight, fresh ideas, different ways of looking at things, most days. And so, in shorthand, you learn to connect the seemingly unconnected. You therefore learn that it’s advantageous to keep hundreds (if not more) of thoughts in your head at any one time, just below the surface, so that should two of them have a previously unseen connection, you may be privvy to it. This does sometimes seem to have the side effect of not concentrating on everything as much as you should.

Let’s not go down that path…

And another thing; usually your brain uses pre-ordained paths to go down. When you think about something, neurons connect and a pulse passes between them. The thoughts you think regularly create a well trodden path. This becomes an easier thought route to go down in the future and one that you’ll fall into regularly; it’s easier for a thought process to go somewhere it’s already well connected to, rather than to make a new path. So the more creative you are, the more diverse pathways you should have, but the less well trodden they are. Sounds OK right? Well, this kind of thinking has it’s disadvantages.

It makes us somewhat resistant to common sense and, I think, gullible. Imagine trying to think of strange things all day. When you register something which doesn’t seem usual, that in itself seems usual, and you welcome it! Creative people have less of an aversion to the new, they just accept it as everyday. I believe people when they say something weird has happened; this particular time I had no warning signs flip up in my brain to say “hang on, this isn’t right, there’s something going on here”

So, if you want maximum impact for your elaborate April Fools prank, then it’s official; choose someone creative and it’ll hit the target twice as hard. With hilarious results for everyone else! 🙂

P.S – I’ll get you back, all of you.

Milton Bayer

Milton Bayer

We are Milton Bayer, an award winning, multi-disciplinary, strategic and creative marketing agency.

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