Hooray, the next creative revolution is here. It belongs to media artists across platforms, who will rise to power like never before. So said Lee Clow, legendary chief creative officer, TBWA Worldwide, at a recent Adweek creative conference. Artists, not technologists, will rule the Internet, and agencies’ products will be called “media arts” and not advertising. “Everything we do now is media,” said Clow, referring to “the brave new world of conversation, not monologue.”
The first glimmer of media artistry is all around us: It’s in novel in-film product placements and branded content or entertainment. It shines on the Internet via branded social groups. It is manifest in the emerging wave of co-creation in which the consumer will increasingly feature in ads—aka the recent Facebook ad model—or else create ads on YouTube. It’s seen in various mega brand-linked spectacles.
Media artistry promises agencies royalties and monies far fatter than the usual fee or commission they get to create or place print, television and radio ads. It also unleashes the imagination and forges stronger brand-consumer contact. Ad agencies, media specialists, media owners, online media players are hence busy creating companies dealing with films, entertainment and branded content. Advertising’s last creative revolution was led by legends such as Bill Bernbach, Leo Burnett and David Ogilvy in the 1950s and 1960s, and was based on a different shade of democracy. This era ushered in the unique selling proposition (USP), to help link a brand to a definite idea in the viewer’s mind. Its posterboy was Bernbach, who helped create path-breaking Volkswagen ads, with headlines such as “Think Small” and “Lemon”—creative disruption in an age which celebrated conventional beauty.
More importantly, men such as Bernbach encouraged close cooperation among art and copy artists, and management, rather than have copy leading the way in the creation process. End result: creative masterpieces.
In today’s complex media place, though, the challenge will be getting the various artists—ad men, media specialists, online players, entertainment specialists, media owners (who are increasingly creating branded content and ads)—to work together. Everyone is guarding their potential revenues in this zone of infinite possibilities. We need cross-media minds for creative’s best expression.
Marion Arathoon is Mint’s advertising editor. Your feedback is welcome at email@example.com