Free From The Code Of Sameness

Jennifer Whetzel of Sullivan Higdon Sink attended the 4As Planning Conference in Chicago and had this to say:

So the conference kicked off yesterday with a great incitation by John Hunt, the Worldwide Creative Director of TBWA/Hunt/Lascaris. He defined Account Planners as the intelligentsia of the advertising industry. He charged us with the task of being catalysts to fresh new thinking and the goal to set creatives free from the code of sameness.
He said the definition of a great campaign is one where the idea comes from a different place – it’s not just a great idea or a great execution of an idea. He described planners as the one who helps creatives find that new place. Any thoughts from creatives out there?

Everyone’s favorite blogging brand planner, Russell Davies, formerly of Wieden + Kennedy and currenly with Nike, saw things a bit differently.

John Hunt is talking now. Seems like a nice guy. Did quite a nice mock sermon thing, but entirely based in a very old world view of advertising – the creatives have big ideas, the account guys make them small because the client is unimaginative and the planners do lots of research.
Is it not possible that some clients are imaginative, some creatives are unoriginal and some planners don’t want to do research?
Is it really true that creatives just need to be set free from the tyranny of dull clients?
Maybe once, but not anymore. Maybe a bunch of demanding clients are trying to get exciting work out of dull creatives.
That doesn’t seem to be conventional wisdom among creatives but maybe they should concede it’s possible and that would make them stretch themselves a bit.



About David Burn

I wrote my first ad for a political candidate when I was 17 years old. She won her race and I felt the seductive power of advertising for the first time. Today—after working for seven agencies in five states—I am head of brand strategy and creative at Bonehook in Portland, Oregon.