Wanted: Creatives Who Understand The Internet

If you’re a big time TV creative at W&K and you make $500K directing Super Bowl spots, stay where you are. People like you may be working a dying business model, but you’ve got a long way to fall from your ivory tower-like perch. For the rest of us, “new” media, such as the Internet, continues to evolve and gain traction. Check out these stats from market research and advisory company Outsell (courtesy of MarketingVOX):

U.S. advertising spend will grow 5.8 percent in 2007, with online advertising spend growing 18 percent – faster than for any other major medium
Advertisers also plan to increase search engine advertising spend 39 percent – the most of any major online method –
The share of TV/radio/movie ad spending will decline about 3.5 percent in 2007.

About Matt Bergantino


  1. Working in the Internet world for 4.5 years now, I can tell you that the Web is the best thing that’s ever happened to advertising creatives.
    Yes, ever.
    The difference between old media and new is that the new media is more darwinian. Everyone who has felt blocked by unenlightened clients can now easily show them how they’re wrong and you’re right (cuts both ways, but you catch my meaning). In fact, unenlightened clients will become a dying breed. You will start to find that your clients start pushing you in good ways. You will find them more open to your wacky ideas. More open to simplifying their message. In short, you’ll find that they’re more like you.

  2. I’m going to offer an alternate view, taken from my own experience working with “new media” creatives at several high-profile interactive shops.
    While it may be great that “unenlightened” clients let you have free reign, my perspective as a CD contracting interactive shops is that such “unenlightenment” allows an avalanche of work with little connection to business strategy or brand character.
    With few exceptions, I’ve seen interactive shops present work that’s all about being cool and getting noticed. The main message of the company or product is relegated to the rear of the room. Almost every project has been inappropriate for the intended audience. Snarky, YouTube videos for an upscale, 45+ audience? Juvenile, “He said ass!” humor for a “granolaish” energy product aimed at 35+, professionals with environmentalist, outdoor lifestyles?
    These examples come from some of the most “respected names” in the Interactive agency world. To your point, Todd, the shops seem filled with creatives who revel in saying they’re always right and the uneducated clients always wrong. It’s a hell of a lot of fun, I admit. But it’s bad for the industry, long-term.
    Unenlightened clients will become a dying breed – because they’ll become experienced clients. But this experience may well teach them interactive creatives are even less interested in driving sales than their creaky, old, “Let’s shoot a spot in the Caribbean” counterparts back in the traditional shops. Proof?
    Three different clients – all serious players in web-based spending – have raised this very concern with me over the past six months. Two suggested they would be better off having their interactive agency housed within a traditional shop so there would be more “mature” leadership (their words, not mine).
    So my view is simple. Don’t spoil the riches you enjoy. Get serious about thinking smart instead of chasing mere “buzz”. Otherwise? Enjoy your cake while it lasts. Just remember the sugar and calories can kill you.

  3. Hey Theo,
    A necessary component of the overall picture to be sure.
    I guess what I was saying is that creatives don’t seem to realize what a huge opportunity the Web is for what they do best (and most enjoy). I should have added (but, to be honest, didn’t really have the time to add) is that clients on the web have become, are becomming, and will become better at understanding that the number one thing advertising needs to do is get attention. The smart creatives figure out how to use that understanding AND figure out how to make the client’s message central to the concept. That’s hard, but totally doable. Both the clients and the creatives can win on the web. We can all have our cake and eat it too. As long as it’s part of a well balanced diet.
    The problem that you highlight (and I agree that it’s a problem) is by far the lesser of the two problems we’re discussing. The far bigger avalanche is the one that involves the 4,000 ad messages a day that blah us to death. Those come largely from clients that water down their creative by meddling, briefing poorly, and setting up processes that aren’t compatible with good creative. If you’re a creative director, that should sound familiar.