« Predictions for 2008 | Main | A blog post from beyond the grave »

Thursday, 03 January 2008



Hi Amelia,

Happy new year.

Same feeling here about being back to work... Thank goodness, its Friday tomorrow already.

And congrats for the new biz. It's always nice to take!

I'm asking myself the same questions about creative teams. I wonder how will creative teams evolve.

From my experience, online agencies still have teams with an AD and CW but their responsabilities, who does what, are more loose. Each of them tend to do a bit of both.

The AD and CW structure was perfect when what was needed was 'only' executions.

Now we expect them to come up with big ideas, that will work accross all platforms. And that proves to be much more difficult.

It's no question for me that we still need an AD and CW to create fantastic executions.

I think the debate about who should do digital or traditional executions will become 'who can have the best idea'.

Because once you have a big idea, executions tend to come out of it quite easily. On or offline.

And to do that, I think we'll have to look beyond the rigid structure of today's creative teams and start collaborating and involving a broader range of people into the creative process (and by that I mean outside of advertising) to come up with these big ideas that we all talk about. Screenwriters, writers, psychologists, technologists, other weird and beautiful people that might be relevant for our project... (but not the consumers!).

Hope I'm making some sense, it's quite late now, should go to sleep!

Charles Frith

Great post Amelia. Alex Bogusky is right. The only question to ask with digital is 'why would anyone want to engage with this?'

The problem I have here in China is that because of sheer population volume even a million hits is easy to knock up with the weakest creative idea.

I think the other post on digital that is really important is Iain Tate's 'can' word. Every time somebody uses the word 'can' in a digital presentation it means that they haven't thought it through.

Charles Frith

oops. And happy new year. I hope you have terrific 2008.


Charles, explain to me the "can" thought .
(and happy new year as well!)

Iain Tait

I'll buy all of that.

And totally agree with what you're saying about creative teams. We've tried (and failed) on a few occasions to integrate the traditional AD/CW team structure within Poke.

Of course it works for creating 'ads', but to create bigger engagement driven activity it just doesn't seem to work. I've got no idea what the shape of the right team is. I think it's about getting a group of smart, excited, experienced (in various senses) people together and giving them a brief that all of them can relate to. Not a brief that's been written to show off the smartness of the person who wrote it.

The press release thing is very interesting. Something we've done a lot of is to write the headline, blog post or pub conversation that will result from the activity at the very start of the idea...

Or certainly that's the case for some of the best work we've done.

I'm not quite sure about which post Charles is talking about - but flattered to think that I might have written something useful.

I think it might be this thing about conversation:


Basically just pointing out the most important question in these things is not can you do it, but would you really do it!

Chris Reed

A cracking post. My background is in PR, so it's music to my ears - the sooner we've been involved in planning campaigns in the past the more coverage we've been able to generate for them. The better we can "integrate" agencies responsible for creative, execuction, delivery, and then "talkability" the happier clients are.

We're going to see much more of this going forward - bespoke teams of people with different skills not caring about whether the great idea came from a creative, a planner, a PR or a coder - just about whether it will cut through and deliver more bang per buck than the client expects.


this is all true. I think having ideas is the easy bit. The main barrier facing any kind of creativity in ad agencies of any kind right now, is working out how to actually execute, and get paid for, very nebulous things.

the reason why trad creative teams aren't perceived as working so well right now, is that this agency structure, not the teams themselves, create a massive divide between ideas, execution, and the business thinking.

the only way to get this to work is like everyone says - small project focussed teams, getting everyone involved at every stage etc. v easy to say, obviously true when you look at how all the best projects have happened, but incredibly hard to actually do, and depends on all the human factors, not process ones.

so in conclusion I think that culture and HR are the limiting factors in making this happen more often in agency environments. maybe. happy new year all.

Stuart Parkinson

I agree, teams need to change. and I agree with Ant, when a group of technologists/planners/creatives are having a great discussion about a project whilst still using the words 'piece of content' and 'digital stuff' - everyone else in the agency will be in trouble with regard to a) understanding it and b) selling it into the client.

I think there are briefs where these new teams come into play.

We want people to love our brand.

We want people to engage with us.

We want people to try our new product.

People think it's 'digital' which can answer all of those briefs. Thing is, it's not necessarily digital, most people are using digital media to have conversations about brands, products, things they love, things they hate and things they want to go to. As well as this, they're recording experiences, opinions and finding out about new things digitally.

Saying these are 'digital briefs' is a misnomer....they're not digital briefs, they're PR briefs in digital media, and that's why Bogusky (who seems to be so good it blows my mind) is right, once you crack an idea that people will be interested in, you can use whatever media you like in the right way or provide the right tools in digital media to enable your activity to be maximised.

The problem with all of this? It's not bought eyeballs, it's not guarenteed and it's hard to measure.

I'm sure TV advertisers had this problem back in the day. One question, does anyone -really- know how many people are watching the ad break in Corrie on a Wednesday night, or are they just an educated common sense guesstimate made to make huge investments credible in business terms?


Happy New Year Amelia :o). Nice post. Personally I think that in this new environment if functional structures and processes are not being questioned and challenged then something is already remiss. I'm a big fan of the idea being all important, rather than where it came from, but I think we've only scratched the surface of how technologists and creative people will interplay in the future in the production of any kind of content.


Oh, and assuming Stuart's question is genuine, the answer is of-course no. TV audience data is based on an extrapolation of the BARB panel (which I believe to be just over 5000 souls). Members of the panel click a device to show they are in the same room as the telly when the telly is on. Whether they are actually watching it (as opposed to texting their mate or surfing the internet on the PC in the corner of the lounge) is of-course a different matter.

John Dodds

I'm not sure write the press release is the best advice - everyone ignores press releases especially now that their automated delivery makes them proliferate. It would be better for the creative department to write the narrative that will engage the potential buyer.

As for C. Frith's "can" remark, I'm guessing he's talking about the geek tendency to focus on what can be achieved rather than what users might want. If I'm wrong I'm confident he'll correct me.


Amelia, even though I worked there for only six months, I can say that 'don't show me a script' is just one of a variety of things Alex Bogusky did while I was there to make his teams create fresher, more interesting work. There is no one Crispin 'formula' as much as there is great creative energy, constant invention, and talent.

The Emperor

Likewise, a lot of creatives are going freelance because agencies don't want to pay account handlers / planners / project managers. Speaking to the person who does the work is appealing, hence the increasing number of tiny, new creative shops.

The Emperor

Likewise, a lot of creatives are going freelance because agencies don't want to pay account handlers / planners / project managers. Speaking to the person who does the work is appealing, hence the increasing number of tiny, new creative shops.

The comments to this entry are closed.

My Photo
Bookmark and Share