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

Maths Teacher

£110 - £200 per day: Randstad Education Leeds: Secondary Maths Teacher for spe...

Business Analyst - Surrey - Permanent - Up to £50k DOE

£40000 - £50000 Per Annum Excellent benefits: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd:...

***ASP.NET Developer - Cheshire - £35k - Permanent***

£30000 - £35000 Per Annum Excellent benefits: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd:...

***Solutions Architect*** - Brighton - £40k - Permanent

£35000 - £40000 Per Annum Excellent benefits: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd:...

Day In a Page

Read Next
 

Taking on Ukip requires a delicate balancing act for both main parties

Andrew Grice
Today is a bigger Shabbes than usual in the Jewish world because it has been chosen to launch the Shabbos Project  

Shabbes exerts a pull on all Jews, and today is bigger than ever

Howard Jacobson
Wilko Johnson, now the bad news: musician splits with manager after police investigate assault claims

Wilko Johnson, now the bad news

Former Dr Feelgood splits with manager after police investigate assault claims
Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands ahead of the US midterm elections

Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands

The Senator for Colorado is for gay rights, for abortion rights – and in the Republicans’ sights as they threaten to take control of the Senate next month
New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

Evidence found of contact between Easter Islanders and South America
Cerys Matthews reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of Dylan Thomas

Cerys Matthews on Dylan Thomas

The singer reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of the famous Welsh poet
DIY is not fun and we've finally realised this as a nation

Homebase closures: 'DIY is not fun'

Homebase has announced the closure of one in four of its stores. Nick Harding, who never did know his awl from his elbow, is glad to see the back of DIY
The Battle of the Five Armies: Air New Zealand releases new Hobbit-inspired in-flight video

Air New Zealand's wizard in-flight video

The airline has released a new Hobbit-inspired clip dubbed "The most epic safety video ever made"
Pumpkin spice is the flavour of the month - but can you stomach the sweetness?

Pumpkin spice is the flavour of the month

The combination of cinnamon, clove, nutmeg (and no actual pumpkin), now flavours everything from lattes to cream cheese in the US
11 best sonic skincare brushes

11 best sonic skincare brushes

Forget the flannel - take skincare to the next level by using your favourite cleanser with a sonic facial brush
Paul Scholes column: I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Phil Jones and Marcos Rojo

Paul Scholes column

I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Jones and Rojo
Frank Warren: Boxing has its problems but in all my time I've never seen a crooked fight

Frank Warren: Boxing has its problems but in all my time I've never seen a crooked fight

While other sports are stalked by corruption, we are an easy target for the critics
Jamie Roberts exclusive interview: 'I'm a man of my word – I'll stay in Paris'

Jamie Roberts: 'I'm a man of my word – I'll stay in Paris'

Wales centre says he’s not coming home but is looking to establish himself at Racing Métro
How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?

A crime that reveals London's dark heart

How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?
Meet 'Porridge' and 'Vampire': Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker

Lost in translation: Western monikers

Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker. Simon Usborne, who met a 'Porridge' and a 'Vampire' while in China, can see the problem
Handy hacks that make life easier: New book reveals how to rid your inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone

Handy hacks that make life easier

New book reveals how to rid your email inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone with a loo-roll
KidZania lets children try their hands at being a firefighter, doctor or factory worker for the day

KidZania: It's a small world

The new 'educational entertainment experience' in London's Shepherd's Bush will allow children to try out the jobs that are usually undertaken by adults, including firefighter, doctor or factory worker