Why The Ad Industry Should Say Less

Creative Circle's UK president Gabriela Scardaccione explains why it is introducing its 'No' manifesto.

By Gabriela Scardaccione

Read time 4 minutes and 33 seconds

In 2020, at the very start of the pandemic and on a peaceful April morning, I came across John Cage, an avant-garde music composer who in 1952 created a work called 4’33’’ .

The first public performance of the piece was at Woodstock, New York that same year - on a warm summer evening at the Maverick Concert Hall; a beautiful wooden building with huge doors that opened out onto nature.

The pianist - a man called David Tudor - walked onto the stage and sat down at the piano, only closing and opening the piano lid at the start and at the end of each of the three movements. He used a stopwatch to time the performance.

Inside the theatre, people became very confused and annoyed and thought that John Cage had lost his mind.

That night, however, the audience heard whatever ambient sounds filled the air during that 4’33’’ of ‘nothing': breathing, coughing, murmuring; birds chirping; the wind passing through the trees, leaves rustling; and the whispering of the few people that were hanging around outside.

John Cage, already one of the most influential composers of his time, was prepared to sacrifice his reputation - just to show that there is no such a thing as silence; to prove that, when we allow ourselves to inhabit that quiet space, we are gifted an opportunity to hear the beautiful, random and unplanned sounds of the world around us.

More recently, Marina Abramovic, perhaps channelling Cage, harnessed the power of silence at Glastonbury for seven whole minutes; 200,000 people stopped and stood still and just listened.                       

I believe the world doesn’t need another Manifesto about Creativity. More words. More noise.

What the world needs now, more than ever, is more silence.

Imagine if the marketing industry accepted that most of the time, it’s an echo chamber filled with noise.

Imagine if social media channels acknowledged the role they play in increasing anxiety and depression; bombarding us relentlessly with ‘content’ - until we're unable to think and focus; basic human needs.

Imagine if each of us stopped believing that 'if we don't post, we don't exist’ - and started being more mindful about our output and how we're polluting this beautiful world we live in.

And imagine if we could all stop for a moment - and think about a more sustainable way of connecting with each other; a way that makes us feel less alone and overwhelmed, and more human. A way that makes us feel again. 

If you read this at the same speed as I did, then you have one minute and ninety-five seconds left.

Gabriela Scardaccione, president of the Creative Circle UK


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