Over the last few months we’ve heard a lot of exciting news about agencies and clients reinventing the ‘advertising agency model’.
Not the whole agency, obviously, just the interesting part with all the tattooed beardy men and purple haired women.
Because you see, Creative departments simply weren’t working before.
What? you hadn’t noticed?
That’s why you’re not making the big bucks, buddy.
However, fortunately for us, some of those clever people who are earning the bigly-bucks with bells on – have been thinking about this long and hard and have come up with some cunning new ways to reinvent the whole thing.
There are three main ways this creative reinvention is manifesting itself.
The first is ‘Down with awards, long live Process!’.
The second is the ‘My Ball, My rules’ method.
The third is ‘Committees are the way forward’.
Leading from the front was the much publicised boycott of awards by the Publicis group. “No awards entries for a year, let’s spend it on AI process software!” they declared.
Of course they never reckoned on Creative people’s ability to think creatively. We needn’t have worried, last count Publicis had 398 entries at Cannes and won Gold in Pharma and came third in Healthcare Agency of the year via Langland.
Not bad for a group on a Cannes boycott. Maybe we should all try it.
Plus Publicis saved quite a few bob on air fair. They admit they had 15 people going under their own steam, 12 employees in the young Lions competitions and 12 leaders who were there for jury duty, paid for by Cannes.
Oh but wait, they did pay for the account leaders who needed to attend all the important meetings and the you know, all the important stuff.
Apart from the cost of junior creatives sandwich allowances, they saved themselves a shit ton of cash because all their suppliers or clients had to pay for the entries themselves and even their employees who actually picked up the awards had to pay their own way.
I mean it’s almost as if creative people’s careers depend on awards or something the way they managed to get stuff entered. Who knew?
Second, in the ‘My ball, My rules’ camp is P&G.
Recently they announced that they are forming a new agency called ‘People First’ which plans to cherry pick the best talent from the major networks and corral these lucky souls under one roof to service their North American fabric brands.
Naturally, when one of the world’s most powerful clients has a bright idea, agencies will nod, applaud obsequiously and agree through gritted teeth what a fab idea it is, or miss out on their slice of the world’s biggest pie.
But, you ask, is this just P&G setting up an in-house agency without all the bother of trying to find their own creatives or Creative Director?
Not a bit of it, this is completely different.
You have to concede it’s pretty damn bloody clever to not call it an in-house agency as the minute anyone does, I fear all the top talent at the top agencies might have an identity crisis that somehow they’ve crossed over to the dark side.
Thing is, an ad career can sink or swim on the recognition you get for your work. And by association your agency benefits from the afterglow of your genius, making it easier to hire talent and attract other business. That’s kinda the point.
Are the agencies to just forego this?
Well, luckily we don’t have to wonder. This years ‘It’s a tide ad’ campaign that swept the superbowl and won multiple golds at Cannes was won by the amazing agency Procter & Gamble Cincinatti.
Everyone credited appeared to work for Saatchi and Saatchi NY but you know, who cares if the cash is right.
The third act of reinvention is what Campaign described as the dawn of a new age of Creative power at JWT.
It’s what we creatives, who’ve been round the block, recognize as the old ‘we don’t need creatives or Creative Directors because everyone’s a creative’ routine.
Or the ‘WDNCOCDBEAC’ routine for short.
Yes, JWT have decided they don’t need a global CCO.
‘Bloody over paid primadonnas’, someone probably said at some point, my hidden sources can confirm.
Tamara Ingram, the CEO, and her chums have realised that what they need is a group of engineers, architects and musicians from the Latin American agencies – an ‘incubation program’ named JumpStart instead of a global CCO.
They’re going to call it the ‘Inspiration Council’.
The only problem, as I see it, with taking engineers, architects and musicians and asking them to tackle creative problems for brands is that pretty soon – if they’re any good – Gosh, darn and damn it if they don’t go ahead and become creatives. This means then you have to fire them all and get some more engineers, architects and musicians to replace them.
“They’ll combine this with a ‘Futures Council’. The mix of talent — from data science and creative technology, to strategy and user experience — will work with universities and technology firms to feed the Inspiration Council with knowledge to find the right solutions to solving clients’ business problems.”
Personally I think committees, sorry – ‘future councils‘ – are always the best way to provide a strong creative voice. Just think of all the great creative ideas or inventions that have come from committees, oops…sorry, Inspiration programmes that you can think of.
I mean there must be literally dozens.
It’s an exciting time to be a creative in a creative department, no more boring architecture or silly music to worry about for a start. So much change, so much reinvention by the people who know best.
As Tamara Ingram so eloquently put it, using simple plain English to make her point:
“This council is about unleashing the imaginations of these thinkers into our creative world,” she told Campaign US. “It is about encouraging a collision of ideas and inspiring the whole agency. It is about recency, relevancy and driving culture. It is about the application of the triangulation of humanity, creativity and technology that generates stand-out work and experiences.”
I couldn’t have triangulated that better myself.
So, it’s clear folks. The future Advertising agency model is an in-house creative department, run by a committee of engineers and musicians with a focus on AI software process systems.
Who wouldn’t want to work there?