Tony Cullingham

Watford Advertising

As  Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell once said,  "It takes two baaaabyeeaa  to make a dream come true"

 The hardest part of being a creative team is being in a team.

Here's how to make it work :

1  One right brain, one left brain.

Harpo Marx never spoke in films. He was visual. He was random. He produced moments of inspired slapstick with great charm. He was the clown. The one ladies ran away from.

Groucho was the wordsmith. He found irony in a bowl of porridge. He delivered sardonic word play with  a supersonic tongue.

Groucho  was the one ladies ran to.

One talked. One didn't. 

One was words. One was pictures.

Right and left brain in perfect harmony.


2 Have different stories to tell.

If your experience and cultural backgrounds are the same it will be like working with a mirror. You'll  soon get bored of yourself.

Great creative teams are often the result of opposites  working together.

The quiet with the loud.

The poor with the posh.

 The Swede with the Brit.

The Northerner with the Southerner, the scholar with the plumber. The country boy and the city boy. Hoffman and Voight,


3 Work harder than your partner.

Stan Laurel made over 80 films before he met Oliver Hardy.

Oliver Hardy made over 50 films before he met Stan Laurel.

Strong creative teams come from  hard working individuals.

Fate brings them together.

Always work with the hardest working person you can find.

The talent will come later.  ssshhh..don't tell anyone how hard you work.

 4 Pilot and navigator.

Someone in the team needs to understand business.

They need to sell to clients , they need to make their case in the boardroom they need to know how the markets operate.

They need to get the appointments that will change their lives.

One needs to plot the career route map the other has to do the driving.



5. Smash the china then kiss and make up.

Without passion your ideas will lack edge.

Without anger you'll be dull.

You are human. 

You are a raging bag of belief, ambition and frustration. 

Pleasant won't get you anywhere.

Have bust ups with your partner. Then put your arm around each other and go for a beer.

Peter Taylor and Brian Clough were the finest football management team ever.

Brian was impatient, arrogant, short tempered, fiery.  Peter Taylor was the calming voice of reason.

Clough took players and Chairmen to boiling point. Taylor cooled them down.

Together they took a  bunch of average  players and turned them into European Champions. Not once but twice.



 6 Have fun.

If you are not having fun with your partner then what is the point?


 7 Stick together.

When the shit shatters the fan blades you both use the word 'we'

'We' are to blame.

'We' are responsible.

'We'll' put it right.

Accept the glory and the pay rises as a team.

And accept the dressing downs and redundancies as a team.

'We' never 'I'

Be loyal to each other.


8 Do your own creative thing.

Spike Milligan wrote whimsical  poems,  bizarre comedy sketches and hilarious books.

Spike Milligan was an integral part of the team who,  with The Goons, defined surreal comedy.

As  an individual Spike produced exceptional ideas.

In a team he produced amazing ideas.

Always find time to do your own  creative projects.

Give your partner space. Get more Spike in your life.

 9 If you are going to be the same be different.

Gilbert and George took the creative duo and turned it into a distinctive brand.

Their personalities were so intertwined  they became an art form.

If you are the same be different from all those other teams who are the same.



 10.It's always about trust.

Trust , trust and double trust with extra lashings of trust.

At the end of the day it's all about trust.

Once you let suspicion creep into your lives you are finished as a team.