Creative Insights: Deborah Rajadurai on barriers that stifle commercial creativity

By Ruby Derrick | 16 October 2023

Creative Insights is an AdNews series investigating and revealing the secrets of the creative side of advertising.

Deborah Rajadurai: senior account manager at Murmur-Group

How did you fall into the industry? Was it deliberate or a misstep?

Very deliberate. I always knew I wanted to be in a people-focused industry so I completed a double major in marketing and public relations, secured my first role as a marketing exec for a non-profit and I have been in this industry ever since.

What’s your secret sauce for commercial creativity?

There is no secret sauce. I think a common misconception is that people think there is only a certain sect of the human population that are born with this innate creative genius and are thus "naturally creative". This is not true. I think the secret is to not be barred by logic. Become unhinged when thinking creatively, throw ideas on the wall and then start building out a pros and cons list - now you have an idea that is customized to the brief.

What’s the biggest hurdle now for creatives?

The competition. If you look at Tiktok these days, 19-year-olds in the confines of their bedroom are coming up with the most creative ideas that go viral and have the buy-in of the entire internet. This means creative thinkers are no longer found in creative agencies. I think the challenge is to couple creative thinking with actionable, strategic insights that bring unique value to clients - something they cannot get elsewhere (not yet, at least)

Do you wear the black t-shirt uniform or are you a nonconformist?

No black t-shirts for me please. I come from a culture that celebrates colour and big statement pieces so that is generally the thinking behind my work outfits.

Can commercial creativity only take place in a room full of people in black T-shirts?

Big NO. That type of barrier is exactly what stifles commercial creativity. I came across this creative thought exercise 'You're Fired, You're Re-Hired' where you come up with a creative idea that is so wild it gets you fired. Then you have to transform that idea into something that gets you re-hired. This basically allows for creative freedom to go wide and then taper back down to something that is marketable.

What was the latest campaign that you worked on that you really enjoyed?

I loved working on our latest creative project: A Home for Good - a hero brand video to announce the big launch of the Blacktown Animal Rehoming Centre (BARC). We worked with the cutest dogs, shot in a state-of-the-art facility and watched the creative concepts we had worked tirelessly over, finally come to life. If you are looking for a pup to adopt, check out BARC!

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