What pushes creatives to always try to be better? To outdo themselves? What motivates them? What inspires them?
Most good creatives will tell you there's nothing better than a Dan Wieden print, a David Droga film or an Alex Bogusky poster. That that's what's inspiring, that's what an agency needs to work toward, that's what's the best, what you need to beat.
And yet, even if these agencies put out exceptional work, they're not necessarily the focus of my creative eye. No, my creative grail, my Everest of craft, my masterpiece of inventiveness is two blocks away from our agency.
In the cheese shop on rue de Chanzy. l'Univers du fromage. Universe of Cheese.
That's where, every morning, Stéphane makes the most marvelous sandwich. Baguette, ham, comté and salted butter.
Visually, it's a perfect sandwich. A golden baguette, toasted ever so slightly, dusted with a delicate trace of flour, giving a glimpse of red country ham and shavings of the best aged Comté.
In your mouth, it's nothing short of a miracle. The crust cracks just right as you bite into it, creating an explosion of flavors—the aroma of country ham overlaid with a hint of fruitiness emanating from a cheese aged 24 months, all interwoven with velvety, salted butter and served with a dollop of sweet blueberry jam.
I close my eyes and, as I savor this masterpiece, tell myself that this sandwich, ultimately, is a form of creative perfection. Everything is there in each bite—the bucolic pastures of the Pyrénées, which give the ham elements of beauty and savagery; the summit of the Alps, which lend the cheese that texture that's at once both rugged and soft; and the beautiful coasts of Brittany, where this unctuous butter was born.
Stéphane puts everything into her sandwich. Tradition, know-how, the history of a country, as well as hundreds of kilometers of coasts, plains, pastures, beaches and mountains, all converge in a fresh, crisp half-baguette, with only one goal—to give people pleasure.
That's what's so inspirational. This selection of the very best of what's around us and the ability to concentrate it, with such grace, in one unique product. This talent is what inspires me each and every day. Cultivating the best ingredients, assembling them with a certain know-how, to create an original work that's able to seduce the public.
That's advertising's job.
Condensing, without losing the core essence, focusing on what's essential, and preserving the passion for a job well done. That's what's behind the beauty in our industry.
So, no offense to Dan, David or Alex. But Stéphane's is where I go to draw my inspiration.
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