Can nice adverts come from robust occasions?

With a recession and an ongoing pandemic, we live in times of fear. However, according to our advertising correspondent Ben Kay, that pressure can lead to some outstanding creative work

"Flowers grow best in the sunshine." That was David Abbott's philosophy when it came to producing great work. Satisfied employees with good salaries and lots of time and support are sure to regularly ensure wonderful advertising.

As a former employee of his, I can confirm that the AMV was bathed in this sunshine at the end of the 90s. From the snooker table to the company car to the subsidized bar and the general understanding that the creative was responsible, life in his department was indeed very pleasant.

And of course the work was consistently brilliant. Team after team produced legendary classics for a wide variety of customers, proving David's theory is correct.

On the other hand, many less responsive creative directors have managed to inspire great publicity by using the whip rather than the carrot: Tim Delaney ("If you don't come in on Saturday, don't bother to come in on Sunday"), Colin Millward from Golden Era Collett Dickenson Pearce ("What's wrong with this ad? You will find out"), John Hegarty ("An ad a day keeps the sack off") and others tended to deliver more clouds than sunshine. And that ethos extended to entire agencies with nicknames like GBH, Weekend and Kennedy, as well as 72 and Sonntag.

So what is it: jumping through the daisies to make brilliant ads, or riding like a galley slave to make equally brilliant ads?