Are Interactive Creatives Working In Their Own Ghetto?

Normally, an agency like Fallon doesn’t have to go around placing classified ads to entice people to join its creative department.
But, as as we noted a while back, interactive creatives are much in demand. So Fallon has placed an ad on CreativeHotlist for an interactive copywriter.

Fallon would like to hire a writer. But not just any writer.
We’re looking for an interactive writer, which at Fallon means something very different. Something much bigger.
We are not looking for someone who thinks ads are the end all be all. Or who are really just trying to get their foot in the door of the Fallon advertising creative department.
What we are looking for is a writer’s writer. That means someone who truly understands structure and grammar and style… all those things so many people don’t think are important anymore. (A book full of visual puns will not demonstrate that ability.) Of course, they’ll also have to be crazy about the web and technology and all its potential. They must be wildly creative. In other words, a bright, articulate visionary.

This seems like a very weird ad. If Fallon is looking for a “writer’s writer” for the interactive department, does that mean their advertising copywriters aren’t good enough for interactive? Or, if they think some jobseekers are “really just trying to get their foot in the door of the Fallon advertising creative department,” does that mean their interactive copywriters aren’t good enough for the advertising department? It sounds as if “different,” “something much bigger,” and “bright articulate visionary,” are very disingenuous descriptions.
I’m not suggesting that writing ads and writing for interactive don’t involve different writing techniques. But I’m starting to get the impression that interactive agencies, and interactive departments of regular ad agencies, are largely becoming ghettos. It’s now gotten to the point where you can’t move from traditional to interactive (or vice versa) without prior experience, or without an employer questioning your motives. And it sounds like the two rarely work together.
I liken it to copywriters who love to write TV but would avoid radio like the plague. Once again, agencies are asking their creative departments to hire one-trick ponies, or once they hire them, agencies are determined to keep them that way.

About Dan Goldgeier

Blogging on AdPulp since 2005, Dan Goldgeier is a Seattle-based freelance copywriter with experience at advertising agencies across the U.S. He is a graduate of the Creative Circus ad school, and currently teaches at Seattle's School of Visual Concepts. In addition, he is a regular columnist for TalentZoo.com. Dan published the best of his TalentZoo.com columns in a book entitled View From The Cheap Seats: A Broader Look at Advertising, Marketing, Branding, Global Politics, Office Politics, Sexual Politics, and Getting Drunk During a Job Interview. Look for it on Amazon in paperback and e-book editions.

  • http://adpulp.com David Burn

    The irony abounds. Practically every agency under the sun goes on and on about the importance of integrated marketing and they’re unique ability to deliver it. Yet, they struggle to integrate disciplines inside their own creative departments.
    Regarding Fallon’s classified, they might have had one of their studly copywriter’s give it a whirl. Oh well.

  • kaza

    Very sad but true. With old minds and old ways of thinking come old habbits like creative segregation.
    I question the use of the term “ghetto” here but agencies still keep “ethnic” ad creatives in segregated, lower end shops so it may be appropriate.

  • Me

    To me, it doesn’t sound strange at all. They want a good writer, but not one who is more interested in working in the creative department than the interactive department. It’s not saying one is better than the other, but they are different.
    I imagine they’ve hire people who’s real, secret desire was to be an ad copywriter. So they get in there and start trying to migrate to the creative department from day one, which doesn’t solve their problem of having a dedicated, talented interactive writer.

  • http://www.knockthehustleblog.typepad.com hadji

    i love the use of the phrase “ghetto”… these poor marginalized “people of copy”. boo-whoo.
    That aside, this article touches on the continued arrogance of agencies to ignore other disciplines as if they’re all separate from the selling process.

  • http://adpulp.com David Burn

    Dearest (poorly disguised Fallon employee) Me,
    Why is your interactive department separate from the creative department? What’s so different about interactive that TV and print writers can’t handle it?
    I know Fallon is not alone in this practice, but we’d all love to hear what the reasoning is. Particularly from one of the best agencies in existence.

  • okay.

    I think you guys are missing the point. Everyone talks about a perfectly integrated department, but it rarely exists in the real world. I think Fallon is taking a good step by getting people who want to purely start from a media-agnostic standpoint, and not someone who only wants to get in on the TV briefs. That’s where a lot of the good work starts now, and then later gets extended into TV, etc. I’m not going to list examples, there are lots, even if you just pull from award shows. The result will be that traditional creatives start to want to work in interactive as well, and soon you really will be integrated. But first you have to make sure the interactive dept isn’t a bunch of people wanting to jump ship.

  • http://adpulp.com David Burn

    The whole point is Fallon is not media-agnostic. They’re media-specific. At least, when it comes to hiring interactive copywriters.
    I know integration is more of a promise than a reality. That’s what upsets me about the perpetuation of silos within the creative departments of this land.

  • okay.

    One man’s silo is another man’s expertise.
    On the other hand, I bet there’s more integration than we think. Look at a recent example like the Brawny work they’ve been doing the last couple of years and you see names of people from both sides, working across all types of media. Not judging whether it’s great work or terrible, only that it seems the boundaries aren’t as black and white as maybe the classified ad suggests.