We look at having insightful conversations with consumers: Alan Moseley3 min read . Updated: 04 May 2015, 02:01 AM IST
Some of the most successful business leaders have been creative leaders, says Moseley, president of creative agency 180 Amsterdam
Alan Moseley, president and chief creative officer, 180 Amsterdam, an international creative agency (part of Omnicom Group Inc.) with a presence in Amsterdam and Los Angeles, takes his agency’s name to heart. “When in trouble, keep going. Do a 180-degree turn," he says.
Moseley was in Goa last week for Goafest, the annual advertising, marketing and media event, and says he would love to set up an office in India. Moseley, who enjoys running and chess, and counts Dharamsala among his favourite places, spoke of his agency’s 180-degree approach to work and his belief that creative people should lead organizations in an interview with Mint. Edited excerpts:
What makes your work different?
We work purely with global and multi-market brands. So we have clients like PlayStation, DHL, Qatar Airways, Nike, Western Union and Pfizer, among others, that work with us for global solutions to their marketing needs. In essence, we try coming up with ideas that can connect cultures and nations.
Rather than do what much of global advertising does—dumbing down content for the consumer—we look at having more insightful conversations with consumers. Currently, we have around 12 clients in Amsterdam and another eight to 10 clients on our roster in LA.
You’ve said in the past that creative leaders should lead companies. Can you elaborate?
Personally, I believe that in the case of creative leaders. For instance, if you are making senior management decisions, you can focus on what the creative product should be and you’re constantly thinking about how to enhance and make the work better. Ultimately, if the work isn’t great, it won’t get you anywhere. Some of the most successful business leaders have been creative leaders.
Where does the creative spark come from?
I believe creativity comes from understanding what you are meant to be doing and having great insight. And when you have great insight, you can try and look at things from a different perspective and come up with different solutions.
More often than not, the most obvious option is the best way forward, but you won’t know that if you haven’t gone at it from lots of different angles. That, I think, defines creativity for me.
What is some of your favourite creative work globally?
There are many individual pieces of work. One such piece of work is the initiative that was run by Coca-Cola a few years ago—where, using 3D touchscreen technology on a vending machine, people across India and Pakistan were able to share a Coke and have a live emotional exchange. What is admirable about this kind of advertising is the social cause and complex advertising message at the heart of it.
I’ve enjoyed the work done by ad agency Wieden+Kennedy for Nike which I saw at Cannes recently. I also really liked the Climate Name Change campaign where the names of extreme storms were changed to names of policymakers who were climate change deniers.
In fact, I loved the work so much that the people behind the campaign are now ECDs (executive creative directors) at my company.
How are you looking at expanding the agency’s footprint? Any plans to set up office in India?
We are having conversations about how we should be expanding. We have clients in countries like Germany, the US and Japan. And we’re certainly interested in expanding in the Asia-Pacific region.
While we don’t have a timeframe or a plan as such, we will look at setting up office in this region when we have the right partners, people and clients in place—which could be sooner than anybody thinks—even in the Indian market.
What are some of the creative trends you are seeing globally?
I think we are becoming more nimble. We’re allowing ideas to come from many more places than before. I think ideas will now drive media strategies. I really believe that if you can come up with an idea that is interesting and provocative enough and which will get you eyeballs, people will choose to look at you. That will evolve going forward.
Mobile is going to be such an interactive screen. Nearly 70% of data that’s out on the Web is video. So video will continue to have a place to capture consumer mindshare. We’re seeing a lot more activation happen in the digital world as well. Concepts like branded entertainment are catching on with consumers—if it’s good stuff, people will buy it and won’t mind where it comes from.