Last week creative minds from across Europe met at Palazzo Barberini, Rome’s National Gallery of Ancient Art. Surrounded by works of famous artists from the 13th – 19th century, agency faces debated the future of creativity, the changing role of creative directors and how to inject more originality into advertising. Here are the highlights…
Creativity in advertising is in crisis, and education is to blame
Dave Buonaguidi, Chief Creative Officer at CP+B felt that creativity in advertising was in crisis and the standard of work coming out of agencies wasn’t up to scratch. He blamed much of this on the education system and the near monopoly of the advertising industry.
Dave Buonaguidi has been in the advertising business for 3 decades and questions whether he and the companies he works around are being as creative as they could be, which is a real challenge. The sad thing is that creativity is the most important thing we agencies sell to our clients.
There are now approximately 300 colleges and universities that offer courses in advertising, but the subject is being taught by people who no longer work in the industry – They are the ones teaching the future, but have nothing to do with the here and now. The result?… Poor output. Courses in Advertising are expensive which also deter much of the lower classes from studying and we need more diversity in our industry.
Creativity seems to have become a column on a spreadsheet and a commodity, given that most large agencies are owned by two or three different companies which causes independent vision to be lost. So a lot can be said for smaller agencies who don’t have to appease stakeholders.
It’s not all doom and gloom
According to Richard Pinder, CEO of Crispin Porter + Bogusky’s UK, creativity in education is the cure to solving today’s issues. Richard has put his money where his mouth is and put his two children into Lego’s forward thinking, fee-paying International School of Billund in Copenhagen, which focuses on learning through play to encourage creative, critical thinking. The results?… His daughter has gone from the bottom to the top of the class.
Schools like Lego that focus on creativity over measuring skills in more traditional ways are important, but they still remain the domain of the upper classes, and do little to democratise the creative industries.
Brands are getting nervous… Who wants to be the next Kodak?
Since 2000, 52% of the Fortune 500 companies have either gone bankrupt, been acquired or don’t exist anymore. In 1955 the average life expectancy of businesses was 75 years, but today businesses are lasting just 15. Which indicates at BZ we must be doing something right as we enter our 30th year. But startup companies riding on the wave of disruption are introducing new ways of working that are proving more fruitful than traditional counterparts.
We are living and working in uncertain times juggling the relationships between brands, agencies, ways of working, creative cultures and the force of disruption through technology. And as the corporate mortality rate moves ever faster, traditional brands are getting more and more nervous. No one wants to be the next Kodak, who failed to see digital photography as a disruptive technology and got dragged off to bankruptcy. They need help with outside thinking, they need to be challenged, they need to be helped, they want to partner, and that’s why BZ are here.
Today’s start-up businesses are forming power through creative culture, leveraging talent and using different principles and practices to go to market at scale. In much the same way, BZ doesn’t work in a traditional sense with the Creative Director leading the idea as we are all equally creative, and our 30 year success is purely down to the quality of our people.
But the reality is they must evolve, the creative department has to evolve to be fit to serve businesses of the next 2 decades. If an agency was a creative factory with 20 designers outputting ideas, it is only going to deliver 20 people’s worth of an idea, where as at BZ we have ideas coming from everywhere via a managed process and a creative culture.
Creativity for crisis sake
From Brexit to the continued migrant crisis, terrorism to political surprises, 2016 has been a particularly challenging year. But with crisis comes opportunity, and creativity can instigate change. You can build towers and walls, or you can break them down, and creativity can do that. We can take every crisis as an opportunity to do better. The role of creativity isn’t simply about coming up with cool or humorous ideas for an advert anymore, it’s about using the power of creativity to devise a campaign or a service that will lead people to think has the ability to change their lives in some way.