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ChatGPT Didn’t write this: The Commoditization of the Creative

This should take me 5 hours to complete.

To think, ideate, write something down, edit, trim and finalize with accompanying visuals. 

The entire task of creatively writing this piece is measured, documented and precisely priced.

In this respect, my words are a commodity. A raw material to be shaped, bought and sold.

Reduced to this stark reality— this is a task that sounds devoid of any heart, imagination and humanity.

And yet it is not.

There is a whole world here between you and me now. One that, in my best moments, I am able to mastermind and create for us. If you are still reading this, it means I have piqued your interest. There has been a connection made at some point. (IF you know exactly which part interested you, please tell me, we creatives love that.) And that is the beauty of art— the creation of bonds.

But where do art and commodity meet? Can both exist in the same piece of work? At Noble West, it is what we strive for every day. Ideas born of feelings turned into words or designs to create specific connections. In recent years, the marketing industry has embraced a sweeping wave of commoditization, wherein creative work gets reduced to quick, replicable templates vacant of all originality. The soul of storytelling, which is central to effective marketing, is fading faster than a 39-year-old at a social event.

Instead, the focus has been redirected toward mass-producing content that is high in volume but often low in substance. We want more with less, huge impact and streamlined efficiencies. Forget the story, use AI and meet the deadline.

And that can sorta work. For some.

But what is becoming increasingly clear is that real, authentic stories still sell. TikTok has certainly proven this and according to the American Marketing Association “stories that are used to communicate a message are remembered 2x more than facts and figures alone.”

Lucky for us Westies, we work in soil-rich stories. In our specific sector, the art we create is deeply rooted in our food system, where plenty of stories await their moment in the spotlight. Agriculture has always been at the heart of human civilization. From the first grain cultivated to the vast, technologically-driven farms of today, agriculture's journey is intertwined with our own evolution. Yet, its stories remain largely untold, overshadowed by the glamor and allure of other industries. With the commoditization of creativity, we get to tell the tales that shape our food system and subsequently, our lives.

Instead of viewing the commoditization trend as our downfall, we use it to dive deep into niches that are bursting with authentic, impactful stories filled with hope, resilience, innovation and tradition. It’s not only farms and crops. It's about the global food system and addressing issues like reducing food waste, promoting local, advocating for organic, clean farming and ensuring fair wages for all. It’s a chance for marketing professionals to break through the standard commoditized content and delve into subjects that genuinely matter.

From there and looking beyond the dollars and bottom lines, we hope that our storytelling lays some ground for community engagement— for more connection. For consumers to understand growers, where their food comes from and how damn hard it was to get it to them. For growers to better understand a rapidly changing world, which seems so far from their own, to reach the consumers who need them most. To fundamentally foster trust within our society.

This approach, while still being clocked by the hour, is not devoid of humanity but instead offers a wholly human-centric perspective. In this way, commoditization and creativity are not mutually exclusive or inherently soulless but actually an influential combination with the power to reshape perceptions, drive change and optimistically— unite us all.