WeTransfer survey: “Mad Men” Era of the 1960s remains America’s creative peak

America’s thoughts on creativity, art and advertising revealed

26 MAY 2015, NEW YORK, USA
Summary
A new WeTransfer survey has found that the Golden Age of advertising and the counterculture of the 1960s was America's most creative time in history. Although 58% of people agree that the wealth of information available with the internet today has led to a more creative society, 40% also agreed that the ‘always on’ culture that prevails has negatively affected our creativity.

Flower power, graffiti, civil rights – the Golden Age of advertising and the counterculture of the 1960s was our most creative time in history, according to a Onepoll survey of 1,000 Americans, commissioned by WeTransfer, the leading file-transfer service. Although 58% of people agree that the wealth of information available with the internet today has led to a more creative society, 40% also agreed that the ‘always on’ culture that prevails has negatively affected our creativity.

The survey delved into the American psyche to discover the nation’s views on creativity – and the Swinging Sixties has been heralded as the country’s most creative era, winning 22% of the votes. The 1920s took second place (13%) with its jazz music, flapper girls and art deco movement, closely followed by the present day (10%).

So what’s holding back the here and now from becoming the most creative age? When it comes to defining the concept, Americans agreed most strongly (93%) with the words of Sir Ken Robinson,internationally recognized education leader: “Creativity is putting your imagination to work”. While 93% of Americans agree with Robinson’s definition of creativity, only 5% believe creativity can be taught or led – a dichotomy considering Robinson is a true believer in the pivotal role of education in nurturing creativity.

So would a revert to the days of Don Draper-types, where a social network meant more clinking glasses than tapping keys, see the ‘noughties’ take first place? Perhaps not, as there is certainly still a hunger for creativity in the modern age.

91% of Americans claim they are creative (particularly 18-24yr olds, standing at 98%). Most say that to unleash this creativity they have to be happy (66%) and, ideally, be thinking in the evening. Creativity doesn’t have to be directed, as the respondents said they feel more creative when they’re at work and left to their own devices (48%), rather than at work and required to be (35%).

However, our most creative pursuits are, for most of us, recreational ones, with the top three being:

  • 1.Painting/Drawing – 84%
  • 2.Photography – 75%
  • 3.Dance – 71%

Advertising came last in the list of creative pursuits (47%) – but that’s not to say people don’t think it has creative potential, with 86% agreeing that advertising can impact popular culture and 49% having seen an advertisement that’s compelled them to tell a friend or family member about it. So it’s up to the advertising industry to unlock its full creative potential.

Quotes
"WeTransfer is a global exhibition of creative talent - it’s in our DNA and it has formed a huge part of our user base. We are surrounded by creativity every day of our lives. Our heritage is to help creative people share their work and hopefully inspire others to do the same. We believe advertising can and does impact popular culture and we certainly agree with the rest of America that technology and the wealth of information available on the Internet has led to a more creative society – without it, WeTransfer would and couldn’t be who we are today." Bas Beerens, founder and CEO, WeTransfer
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About WeTransfer

WeTransfer is the simplest way to send your files around the world. The service was founded in 2009 in Amsterdam by Bas Beerens and Nalden, who wanted to create an easy platform for people to send big files without any sign-up. Today, 40 million active users across 195 countries transfer one billion files every month. It is WeTransfer’s mission to enable the effortless transfer of ideas from one creative mind to many. We want to help our users get in, and stay in, their creative flow – that strange and beautiful state where everything comes together and great things happen.

WeTransfer has a dual revenue model, split between advertising and premium subscriptions. With WeTransfer Plus, customers benefit from bigger transfer sizes, storage and personalization options. WeTransfer also works with the world's biggest brands, including Google, Samsung, Netflix and Squarespace, to develop and deliver beautiful, full-screen advertisements on our background wallpapers.

Since day one, WeTransfer has proudly supported the creative communities by giving away 30% of the advertising space to showcase projects we love. With WeTransfer Studios, creative partnerships have been launched with some of the world's most interesting individuals and organizations, including FKA twigs, Rankin, Anderson .Paak, McSweeney's, World Press Photo, The Royal Academy of Arts and the Ace Hotel Group. On our content platform This Works, we tell the stories behind the creative work we curate and create. WeTransfer also supports tomorrow’s creative leaders by offering free premium accounts to all arts students in the United States.

Following a $25 million investment from Highland Capital in 2015, WeTransfer opened a US office in Venice Beach, Los Angeles, to add to the Amsterdam headquarters.

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