Saturday, December 29, 2007

2007 Reviewed, 2008 Predicted

What were the main topics on Creatives' minds in 2007?

In all probability, they were beer and sex.

But... we only discuss advertising here.

So, judging it solely by the posts which prompted the greatest number of comments on this blog over the past 12 months, the main subjects of interest for 2007 were:

1. Big TV ads. Not everyone liked Gorilla, Guinness, Play-Doh Bunnies and Smirnoff. But we cared about whether they were good or not.

2. The question of originality. Turns out there'd been another ad with a drumming gorilla and two LA-based artists had depicted multicoloured bunnies in New York, and Heinz weren't the first people to slice a ketchup bottle.

3. Creativity (or the lack of it) in Digital. DDB London creative Rob Messeter's post on Digital And The Emperor's New Clothes created quite the shit-storm.

4. The Creative Director Merry-Go-Round. Saatchis, JWT, MCBD, Hurrell & Dawson, Grey and Y&R all got new Creative Directors in 2007. Only Premiership football managers change quicker.

5. Awards (various posts). Awards still determine how much we get paid, so however much we might like to pretend they don't matter, they do.

6. Which agencies were doing the best work. The consensus says it's Fallon, with a group behind them of W&K, Mother, BBH, DDB, and Abbott Mead.

Will the same themes be discussed in 2008?

Well, some of them are eternal.

For wherever there is an office with a door that can be closed, a pub to sit in, or a place in cyberspace that allows anonymous commenting, Creatives will bitch. That's just what we do.

We bitch about our bosses, the companies we work at, our peers, and the work itself.

And all of that will continue. Praise the Lord!

But one theme is new, or newish. And that's Digital. Most above-the-line creatives (here in the UK) are doing little or no digital work, but they are reading about it in Campaign and on blogs, and are wondering if it's going to stay in separate 'digital agencies' or whether they'll be doing it soon too, and if so, whether the work will be any good or not.

My guess is that Digital will not end up staying in separate agencies like DM has. We'll all be doing it. I think this is going to start happening very very quickly and my advice is to get on board now.

The creativity will improve, of course it will. Right now, Digital is in its infancy. People are still getting to grips with the medium itself, let alone how to be creative in it. Creative standards will leap forward just as they did in every medium. (Ever seen those early TV ads?)

And Digital will affect the big TV ads we're so patently still obsessed with. The question is how. Will it kill off the big TV ad, as fewer people tune in? Or will Digital herald a new golden age of TV creativity, on the grounds that if you don't entertain, you don't get eyeballs?

The situation is on-going... I won't pretend I have the answer.

But I'm pretty sure that's the question.


Alan Wolk said...

That's interesting that most UK offline creatives aren't doing any digital.

Because here in NYC, everyone's jumping all over each other to get their hands on some of it and to steal projects away from the digital creatives in their shops (just about every big agency has a digital department, and the smaller boutique ones all expect everyone to do a bit of everything.)

Right now a lot of the digital creative that's getting talked about is just offline work repurposed. I mean the only thing "digital" about say Smirnoff's Tea-Partay "viral" is that it ran on YouTube rather than CNN and it's 120 some odd seconds, not 30.

The other heads up, Scamp, is that much of what digital agencies do is build websites (RGA's NikePlus site is a great example, but most are far more mundane, as are the products they're designed for.) That's where they make all their money and site work is a completely different skill set than ad work.

Been a pleasure "meeting" you this year, reading your blog, hearing from your readers and having you drive a ton of traffic over to mine.

Cheers and Happy New Year


PS: If you are ever in NYC, please look me up - email me and I will forward details.

Anonymous said...

There's a lot of digital creatives waiting to see what happens when ATL people start producing digital work. ATL guys have been pretty scathing about digital work so 2008 should be very interesting.

Anonymous said...

TV will gradually go away but it's delusional to think that digital will somehow effortlessly replace it in terms of audience or client spend and that everything will be fine again.

TV handed us a huge audience on a plate and all we had to do was create quasi-interesting films let's face it. it's all we had to do. and so that's all we're trained to do: fill space and time.

even a big viral hit online will only generate an average audience compared to a TV ad. TV guaranteed us the audience. online we have to generate it ourselves. a fundamentally different proposition.

mass media advertising has had its day. therefore the ad industry will shrink as TV advertising does.
because TV is what we do and that's where the money is/was.

it's tempting to think that we are on the cusp of a wonderful time in advertising. but only if you're a perma-optimistic ad person. sorry!

Anonymous said...

Google is the only thing that will offer a growing mass audience. they are the future of advertising. TV and print lose over time. Google wins.

Anonymous said...

Scamp, really enjoyed your blog over 2007 mate, all the best for 2008!

I work for a boutique digital agency and can understand a lot of the creative cynicism expressed in your "Emperor's..." blog post. But think of it this way, in digital we are very metric oriented, emphasis on very. Many clients expect an ROI of around 20 for small investments ranging from £5k to £15k. This kind of money does not allow for much creative development as the technical side of the work would just take so much more time and therefore £££. You have to look outside of banner ads for the really cool creative stuff, and believe me there is a lot of it... wicked viral games, cool landing pages (check out the viral stuff for the new Batman movie) and handy little widgets.

Banner ads are the bread and butter, they pay the bills, generate revenue for the client and are an incredibly efficient way of raising brand awareness. In the industry we value good banner creative, but are certainly well aware of the formats short comings... don't judge us just on banners.

Re: large agencies vs. boutique, we are nimble and are on the cutting edge of industry developments... I don't know if the pace of digital will translate all that well into larger companies. Or it may do but it is going to cost - a) in head hunting top talent and b) in the inevitable acquisition of small firms by large looking for a quick win.

Anyway, it will be a big year for us and the industry as a whole. But turn your nose up at digital at your peril!

Anonymous said...

This is hilarious, sounds like it was written at least 7 years ago...

Scamp said...

Well we're a bit backwards here in Airstrip One, you know