Welcome to the new golden age of advertising

From a speech on the future of advertising given to the British Design & Art Direction Association in London by David Stuart, its president

Share

It's time we started taking ourselves seriously. What I would really love to see is a lot more people in our business thinking a lot harder and talking a lot more freely about what we actually do all day long. Because at this point in history, I think we need to be able to explain ourselves better.

It's time we started taking ourselves seriously. What I would really love to see is a lot more people in our business thinking a lot harder and talking a lot more freely about what we actually do all day long. Because at this point in history, I think we need to be able to explain ourselves better.

Because everything in our little corner of the commercial world is up for grabs in a way it's never been before. Maybe back in the 20th century we could get by on creative mystique - you know, "trust me, I'm a graphic designer" or "I work in advertising" - but that simply isn't good enough any more. These days, in the wired world, there are always a thousand alternatives - a thousand different ways the client could spend the money, a thousand possible routes to market, a zillion different ways of communicating just about anything that needs to be communicated.

It's exciting, yes. But it's tough, too; it means that nothing is ever simple any more. It means every assumption can be challenged. And that's why we in the creative industries need to start explaining ourselves better. I believe we urgently need to be able to say: this is what we do, this is how it works (well, roughly, since we'll never be able to put it in a neatly labelled box) and this is why it matters more, and is of greater value, than ever before.

For my part, I think there's a fundamental change going on in creativity; a move towards a more collaborative approach and yes, that faint jingle of harness and creak of saddle leather you might have heard was indeed the sound of a man mounting a hobby horse. My belief, which I'll no doubt be droning on about interminably over the next 12 months, is that we might just be entering a kind of creative Golden Age in which what matters is the idea rather than the person who has it.

Yes, I know that a lot of creative businesses would claim this happy state of affairs already exists - with everybody from the cleaning staff upwards free to chip in with ideas. And I suppose ad agencies can claim that the writer/art director team has been demonstrating the benefits of individual creative collaboration for decades. But I'm talking about something much scarier than that - a genuinely "ego-free" approach to creativity, in which the "ownership" of ideas becomes a fluid and amorphous thing.

I'll give you two reasons why I'm convinced that collaboration is the future of creativity. First, because clients are getting bigger. They are, aren't they? These days, the big ones aren't just big, they're very, very big.

And, increasingly, what these very, very big clients want for their very, very big communications projects is to put together a very, very big and carefully selected team of specialists with everybody doing what they're good at - designers doing design, ad agencies doing advertising, direct marketing people doing well, you probably get the picture.

Our clients want us to learn to work together - without bickering, without trying to stab each other in the back, without scoring points off each other - for the benefit of their brands. So we'll have to, whether we like it or not.

The second reason? I genuinely believe that working collaboratively, sharing ideas, produces better results. It's more difficult, but it's also more stimulating. And yes, I'm going to use the "f" word - it's more fun, too.

Maybe we should be looking to the theatre and, especially, the cinema for role models. Film-makers have never had a problem with the idea that theirs is a collaborative medium; that the lighting cameraman, the editor, the writer, and yes, even the location caterer, all have a contribution to make. How else could Pokémon: The Movie have happened?

But if I'm right that creativity in our business will be much more of a team effort in future, that does mean, of course, that completing D&AD entry forms will take an awful lot longer.

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Online Sales and Customer Services Associate

£14000 - £16000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Full time and Part time positio...

Ashdown Group: IT Manager - Salesforce / Reports / CRM - North London - NfP

£45000 per annum: Ashdown Group: An established and reputable Not for Profit o...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Ledger & Credit Control Assistant

£14000 - £17000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Sales Ledger & Credit Control...

Recruitment Genius: Project Administrator

£16000 - £19000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Project Administrator is requ...

Day In a Page

Read Next
MP David Lammy would become the capital’s first black mayor if he won the 2016 Mayoral election  

Crime, punishment and morals: we’re entering a maze with no clear exit

Simon Kelner
 

The two most important parts of Obama’s legacy could be on the brink of collapse, and this time there's no back-up plan

David Usborne
Syrian conflict is the world's first 'climate change war', say scientists, but it won't be the last one

Climate change key in Syrian conflict

And it will trigger more war in future
How I outwitted the Gestapo

How I outwitted the Gestapo

My life as a Jew in wartime Berlin
The nation's favourite animal revealed

The nation's favourite animal revealed

Women like cuddly creatures whilst men like creepy-crawlies
Is this the way to get young people to vote?

Getting young people to vote

From #VOTESELFISH to Bite the Ballot
Poldark star Heida Reed: 'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'

Poldark star Heida Reed

'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'
The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

Netanyahu knows he can get away with anything in America, says Robert Fisk
Families clubbing together to build their own affordable accommodation

Do It Yourself approach to securing a new house

Community land trusts marking a new trend for taking the initiative away from developers
Head of WWF UK: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

David Nussbaum: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

The head of WWF UK remains sanguine despite the Government’s failure to live up to its pledges on the environment
Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Set in a mythologised 5th-century Britain, ‘The Buried Giant’ is a strange beast
With money, corruption and drugs, this monk fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’

Money, corruption and drugs

The monk who fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’
America's first slavery museum established at Django Unchained plantation - 150 years after slavery outlawed

150 years after it was outlawed...

... America's first slavery museum is established in Louisiana
Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

The first 'American Idol' winner on how she manages to remain her own woman – Jane Austen fascination and all
Tony Oursler on exploring our uneasy relationship with technology with his new show

You won't believe your eyes

Tony Oursler's new show explores our uneasy relationship with technology. He's one of a growing number of artists with that preoccupation
Ian Herbert: Peter Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

The England coach leaves players to find solutions - which makes you wonder where he adds value, says Ian Herbert
War with Isis: Fears that the looming battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

The battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

Aid agencies prepare for vast exodus following planned Iraqi offensive against the Isis-held city, reports Patrick Cockburn