Monday, February 14, 2011

in praise of *suits (more on the future of advertising)

For the purposes of this musing, let’s just take it as read that everyone in the agency is a ‘suit*’ (we all talk to clients and represent the agency in some shape or form) to a greater or lesser degree.

As the future-of-advertising debate continues amid much huffing and puffing of hot air the odd flash of sensible thinking pops up here and there.

In Amelia Torode's recent article 'future of advertising" is utterly depressing' (don't be put off by the title, it's a reasonably positive assesment), she identifies 5 key pointers to a better way.

1. Smaller units
2. Madder people
3. People who don't know (or dare I say, care) about Snow Plough or Saatchi & Saatchi in the 80s
4. People who can find stories in numbers
5. People who don't work in the office

2 and 5 I could take or leave but 3 and 4 are the nuggets.
Also point 1 'smaller units' is probably open to misinterpretation.

One could summise that the traditional two person creative team is a small unit, however smaller units means bigger units in this case.
I'm a believer in the everything-happens-at-once method.
As in planning, data, technology, creative, production are all working from the get-go.

Each of the 5 points describes the attributes of people rather than of an organisation.
It matters not whether we talk about the ad agency/social media agency/digital agency.
All of the above, and other incarnations, are simply groups of people of various disciplines banded together to get things done in the realm of communications of one form or another (or many forms).

So, each of us ‘*suits’ has a some of the traits , as described in the 3 circles of the venn diagram below, which appeared to me in a dream the other night...

The sweet spot is right in the middle.
That intersection of creative (the ability to understand or make a creative idea, something of value) combined with the ability to understand why it matters (strategist) and then how it is made (geek).
The ‘geek’ part is loosely formed to include all aspects of production of a thing (be that film, code, origami whatever)

The other intersections are also good
a geek-strategist is valuable, they understand how and why.
the creative-geek knows what and how.
The creative-strategist has got the why and what down.
All good.

What’s not good is when people are one dimensional.
The one dimentional strategist gets lost in verbs.
A hermit geek gets lost in the mechanics, counting pixels or whatever.
The silo’d creative ends up sending biscuits into space or suchlike.

A place to start in disrupting ourselves may be to look at those intersections and see who lives there - and who lives in their own silo.

It's only interesting or useful when everything is connected to everything else.

What do you reckon?

blog comments powered by Disqus