Your roots are in art. Are you really comfortable in the advertising and agency scene? Or do you sometimes feel that you are trampling on your artistic ideals?
Actually, I am a writer. But it is true. The communication I make creates culture. It is commercial art which sells things. Of course, I am comfortable in the advertising scene. I feel we get asked to solve marketing and communication challenges to create emotions within and audience.
What has gone wrong in the advertising industry in recent years?
I don’t think the industry has gone wrong. Like any other sector it has evolved. In our particular case, people have become more advertising literate which means they can dissect what we do quickly. Smart devices and the internet means they are exposed to more things more of the time. So our possibility to stand out has gotten tougher. If you look clients and agencies, they are purposing their super powers for more good things which benefit the world.
If anything, it is our approach to awards and award shows which is tainting much of these efforts. But Cannes Lions have been one of the first to correct themselves on this topic so I think the industry is well underway.
The only thing now, is to ensure we embrace new players like Accenture or new opportunities like AI.
Often agencies and creative minds lose the courage when customers tend to the supposed “safe” variant. How can the dilemma be solved?
First off, the agencies need to “hold the hand” of their client partners when making new brave ideas. Encourage an culture of curiosity and share knowledge which will enable clients to make braver decisions. Also, I wouldn’t necessarily risk the full equity of a brand on one execution but ensure the bravery in the beginning “one egg in a basket”. Once people become more comfortable with their experience, they might wish to have “two eggs in a basket” and so on. Braving the way doesn’t happen in a day.
Digital advertising and digital marketing are very much driven by numbers. Artificial intelligence and big data are likely to reinforce that. Where is the creative momentum in the future?
I think we need to spend time learning new skills. I think we need to enable our teams- junior, mid-weight and senior with more knowledge. Industry leaders need to be thinking ahead on how to retain the incredible talent they have, prepare them for the future and embrace the new scary things so they are not so scary.
What goals has Serviceplan set for the next few years?
Our goal is to further strengthen and consolidate our talent in our various Houses of Communication. For years we have had everything under one roof and we need to keep getting the best out of it. Additionally, we need to work better as one global House of Communication using our principle of “ÜberCreativity”. With all of its pillars like Mediaplus, Plan.Net, Consulting, Solutions and Serviceplan working in sync, we are stronger and braver together.
What do you expect from the DMEXCO 2018? What brings an Australian to Cologne?
Let’s not forget that in addition to to being Australian, I am also half Polish. I have amazing memories of Cologne and Bonn from my years of partnership with Deutsche Telekom. I am looking forward to being inspired by old friends and new. Besides, I hear the Kölsch is good.