Shops and independent agencies are the future of creativity in advertising


The future of the creative industry may lie in independents and boutiques, says Ian Haworth, former creative director of Wunderman Thompson.

I love doing TV commercials. There will always be a place for them. But today, creation has evolved into a complex and exciting world. It spans the gamut from iterative, fast paced content to fueling the digital ecosystem – S4 Capital tells me the story in 1.7 seconds – to a creative experience, service, or solution to someone’s daily problem. , and all the rest. A creative response doesn’t have to be a part of communication anymore, and for people like me, it’s both frightening and liberating.

The lens through which we see creativity, the way we express our ideas, has changed. We remember that creativity is not an act, it is this original thought, the great idea that creates value. And that’s more important than ever in a world where there are so many channels and iterations of this great idea flying at breakneck speed. It is the shooting star that guides us as we try to balance agility and focus, without going crazy.

We are in a world where some customers threaten to walk if they are offered an alternative televised approach: “present yourself differently or I will go home”. But by moving away from television, some may think only in terms of social strategies. Wherever they are on this spectrum, you can be sure that they are looking for new places for their creative solutions.

In some cases, global brands rely on small teams or nimble collectives that demystify the creative process, delivering a big idea quickly, instead of retreating into an ivory tower for a month. They pay these experts a fee for thinking – no timesheet involved – then hire people to do it, choosing the right kind of store to deliver anything from fast production to beautifully crafted film. . Faster, better, cheaper applies to the process of getting the big idea as well as the creative execution.

The creative race is on. For traditional groups, the problem lies in implementing data and technology quickly enough to fuel the solutions customers demand. It’s a tough cultural and structural challenge, but viewed in a positive light, a really exciting race. Strong leadership responds constructively to resistance from within, presenting today’s environment as an opportunity rather than a threat to creativity. Networks have bucketload capacities; rather, it’s about getting them to work together enough to make the transition a success. I am sure many of them will over time.

It is not only the S4 Capital specially designed by Sir Martin Sorrell that defines this new program. I think there is no one better than Dave Droga to put a creative heartbeat at the center of Accenture Interactive without turning it into an ad agency. I suspect we’ll see him and his team craft an offering that will serve as a model for years to come, harnessing data and technology as a catalyst for creativity. Their premier customer relationships and the salaries they can afford – adland simply cannot match – make them a formidable competitor. Their market capitalization also gives them plenty of resources to buy the right kinds of creative businesses.

I mentioned earlier that a creative response can take the form of a service or a life-changing solution that a brand develops for a physical or emotional issue that it identifies, pushed through a phenomenal movie. And although this is the home territory of management consulting firms, I see a real shift in adland, as agency startups are set up with experience design at their heart. By default, they explore the experiences they will create on behalf of brands, as opposed to what brands will tell people. New Commercial Arts is a prime example, co-founded by former colleague Rob Curran, a customer experience expert.

All of this may seem like one too many challenges, a world where traditional craft skills have been forgotten. But I just don’t think that’s true. Yes, digitally focused agencies are increasingly looking to create creative solutions that work across channels, following the mantra faster, better, and cheaper, but I see a real opportunity for independent agencies and all kinds. specialists. Digital advertising may have (just) overtaken traditional media spending, but there is still plenty of the latter.

This means there is plenty of space for shops that choose to focus on TV, Movies, Radio, Podcasts, Games, Purpose, DEI or whatever, producing iconic cultural work. Digital isn’t the only game in town and mainstream media can still play blind – Christmas commercials always remind us of this time of year.

Overall, I think this is a great time to work as a creative.

Ian Haworth is Founder and Creative Director of Haworth House. Previously he was Creative Director UK and EMEA for Wunderman Thompson and the Global ECD and WPP GSK team.

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