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Campaign Brief (AUS/NZ) Online.
Campaign Brief Magazine : March April 2008
whereisthe industry going? think when you c an’t do that cre- atively, you get frustrated. It’s like walking into a gallery, if I walk into a gallery I am not going to choose what Susan [Credle] is going to choose,” she says. “You can’t pre- dict what clients want, you have to do what is in your heart and your soul and if you allow people to be in their heart and soul you are going to get wider work from peo- ple. I think a lot of creatives in the US feel like they can’t imbue their soul and passion in what they are doing in advertising, so they leave because of that.” Credle adds that part of it is finan- cial. People are cottoning on to the fact that agencies are not getting paid the way they were twenty years ago: “Let’s face it, if you are going to work this hard you want to see there’s a payout at the end. If the payout doesn’t look very promising, you might go to a place where it does,” she says. Waites joins in the conversation at this point, and once he is brought up to speed, agrees with Hoffman about the passion element, saying this could explain why so many cre- atives have weekend projects. “How many people are in bands? proud to see good work in the cate- gories I work in because it inspires me to go back and try to do better. I don’t want to be jealous and com- petitive, necessarily, as we are all trying to b ring our best game for- ward so the industry itself attracts bright people and we are valued as an industry.” Like the Australian industry, one of the biggest issues the US adver- tising industry is facing is the ability to attract the brightest talent. Hoffman predicts that when the advert ising bus iness is les s pre- dictable and more inventive an d creative, agencies will be able to attract – and subsequently, keep – these people. Right now, they are going into other industries where they have a little bit more control and leadership over their ideas. “It’s actually one of my pet peeves because I think if you hire some of these young people you need to let them do what is in their heads and I MARCH /APRIL 2 008 How man y peopl e ar e wr iting screenplays? How many people are taking photographs? It’s like they have their passions at the weekend, and then there’s their jobs. You have to find a way to make them realise their passions can apply in thei r jobs,” says Waites. “I think people have the edges knocked off them the l onger they are in the industry. I see it right off the bat, even with kids, for some kids their default setting is, ‘this is what I’m going to do, and this is what I find cool ’. And then there’s a whol e bunch of other people who just try and please; for those people it’s just a job.” Convergence has meant that it’s no longer cool to hire just an art director or a copywriter, but indus- trial designers, architects and pub- lishing executives, a trend that has hit the US and UK in some shops. Credle suggest s practi sing cau- tion, saying it leads into a bigger issue, which is ‘why are we all afraid to do advertising?’ Everyone is so interested in doing shor t films or writing songs about brands, but no one wants to do the kind of creative that actually work as ads. “In the last three days during judging we have been hungry for pure, great, thirty-and-sixty-second spots and beautiful print ads and I think we have to, one, stop apolo- gising for that because there’s a rea- son they have survived one hundred years, they do have a lot of impact and importance,” she says. “What has happened, though, is the inter - net is not a discipline of just tra di- tional branding and advertising and it do es r equire d ifferent k inds o f skill sets.” For e xample, w hen i t c omes to designing a corporate or retail space on the in ternet , ar chitect s might bring some intelligence on s patial design a nd di rection be cause i t i s more l ike a b uilding. She sug gests looking a t w hat d iscipline in the real world is mirroring what you are doing on the internet, and making sure you have the right kind of cre - ative from the real world doing the virtual world. Waites po ints out that i f you g et an ar chitect and a me chanic and you a sk the m t o d o a n a d, y ou could wel l end up with something that you are not going to get out of a regular advertising creative: “You don’t w ant a n a rchite ct w ho i s going to d o an ad, y ou wa nt a n architect who ca n show y ou what can be done with a building.” Hoffman agre es, adding that yo u don’t bring an a rchitect in to be a wri ter, t hat’ s no t t heir forte , but there is a staf f memb er at W+ K who h as an ar chite ctu ral b ack- ground, who adds inter esti ng insights and is on-target because of that spatial element. “If you can match whatever their passion is, I think it’s just trying to get different dimensions into adver- tising,” she says. Credle adds that when you look at the fou ndations o f t he in dustry - adver ti sing age nci es c ame f rom being the agents of the brands. “It was n’t y ou w ri ting fo r t he brand, it was you being an agent for the brand. Some of the newer shops are saying, as an agent for the brand you need a clothing line, so we are going to g et designers, as an a gent for the br and we think you ne ed stadium se ats, s o we are going to design stadium seats, whatever it is. That’s what makes our job exciting again, you become an agent for the brand and your world gets so much bigger than we ne ed one great TV commercial,” say Credle. Although Mo ther is c asting the net wi der tha n ad vertising s chool, bringing in people from publishing, desig n and photogr aphy bac k- grounds, Waites defends advertising creatives, sa ying th ey h ave s pent years learning their trade. “That’s a lo t a bout l ooking at brands and what brands mean and the c ompetit ive se t a nd st rategy, and a ll t ho se g ood d iscipline s, which c an b e missing from some- one who has been schooled in codes to build web s ites. When i t comes to hiring stand-up comedians, film- makers, songwriters, e tc, there a re creatives d oing t hat s tuff a t t he weekend, so in a weird way some agencies do have all those people. If they are flexing all those muscles at the weekend, then we c an benefit from that in their day job.” Hoffman is in char ge of W +K’s WK12, an experimental advertising school housed within the a gency, which d iscovers ne w t alent. S he says th e p eople who at tend a ren’t necessarily writers and art directors, but c ome f rom a d iverse b ack- ground, i .e ., st and-up c omedy, architects and filmmakers. “They are just bright people who are interested in the communica - tions business. It ’s about seeing how we can help them shape their career to be a little bit more inven - tive, and a lso, to apply i t back to the field. If all people do is live and breathe a ds, t hat’s no t enou gh. They nee d t heir s ki lls, a nd t heir fields and their interests,” she says. Credle jokes that staffers aren’t let out of the office to do that – it’s like between midnight and five am you can go f ind some l ife and bring i t back to the office. Lastly, before they scuttle back to judging duty, we ask about a topic that is the subject of a major article this i ssue - wh ether in t he US and UK the re i s t he s ame so rt o f a ge discrimination in advertising t hat exists in Australia and NZ. Credle says a creative in their late- thirties in th e US sh ould de finitely star t think ing about getting involved in the growth of the busi - ness: “I tell people who are around thirty-five if th ey are n ot ru nning the business, if they are not so inte- gral t o t he a gency th at we c an’t afford to l ose them, t hen they a re vulnerable. Unless you a re s uch a shar p shooter that you ar e medalling consistently,” she says. Waites sa ys the que stion o f what happens to advertising people when they tur n for ty is an old one: “There ’s an ol d-scho ol Briti sh advertising c reative and they never wanted t o s tep u p a nd b ecome a group he ad, or a cr eative di rector, or own their own shop, or even run a piece of business. They just want- ed the luxury of being locked away in their office e arning a whole ton of money a nd working o n t hose golden briefs th at a re going to get them two D&AD pencils every year – they ar e lux ur ies these days. Agencies cannot afford them, there may have been a t ime when agen- cies could afford that kind of talent, but no, there’s less money in adver- tising and more people.” 7 CAM - PAIGN 23 BR IE F
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