Last week the world bid farewell to an individual who was quite simply a Creative Titan. Here are 5 lessons (amongst many) from David Bowie that apply to creative advertising and brands.

Stay True

In 2002, Bowie told the BBC, “What I do is I write mainly about very personal and rather lonely feelings, and I explore them in a different way each time.” He changed visually with each persona but he stayed true to the same themes. Brands should do the same, tell the same story but constantly find new ways to do it.

F*ck Up (sometimes)

Director Julian Temple says Bowie inspired people “to try something, f*ck it up, learn from that, and do something else.” To stay safe is to stand still. And who wants to do that?

Explore More

William Burroughs cut-up technique to write lyrics borrowing from Kabuki for Ziggy’s look, releasing a single online only way back in 1997, playing with rock, soul, jazz and more. He did it all. If you only do the stuff you’re comfortable doing, you’ll carry on getting the same results you’re getting.

Don’t Settle

Cameron Crowe spent six months with Bowie in the 70s and said he ‘had a restless need to be creative.’ Always think about what you’re going to do next and how it can be better than what you did last. It’s the best way to avoid being the creative or brand known only for something you did 10 years ago.

Be Fearless

For our money the release of Blackstar and Lazarus timed with David Bowie’s passing is the most breath-takingly brilliant piece of multi-media performance art we’ve ever seen. If that’s not being fearlessly creative in the face of a tough brief, then we don’t know what is.


Yes, we know this is number 6, but it’s a good one. Collaborate with the best people you can possibly find – it will pay off, like this If any of these lessons have made you want to be a rock star, please give us a shout and we’ll organise a jam session!