If You Want The Audience To Laugh, Hire A Comedian

High Jive had a reaction to the BooneOakley job posting bit.

When it comes to hunting for talent, agency executives with hiring authority tend to fish in a limited, exclusive pool. In this case, the pool has been sucked even smaller with the requisite CA Annual and One Show credentials. These honors are arguably prestigious, yet neither is particularly inclusive.
Why does an industry that allegedly embraces breakthrough and unconventional solutions never apply the bravado to selecting new employees? Why do we go for the most expected, clichéd and obvious choices?

High Jive’s grinding the diversity axe, and it’s one that clearly needs sharpening. But, for me, it’s not just about promoting racial inclusion. There are also clear business reasons for reaching well beyond one’s comfort zone.
Consider the pace at which our media environment is reinventing itself. I’m not convinced the team with a Gold Pencil is up for the real challenge of the day–reaching customers on their own terms, not the brand’s terms. Also, I don’t believe award show judges are looking for, nor measuring these things.
The fundamental question is how engaging is any well-crafted print campaign? Any TV spot, any radio spot, any piece of mail, any email, any Web site? I’d argue not all that engaging, and I’m talking about the best work here. It might be engaging for a creative director who needs a new team, but what about the consumer leafing through Rolling Stone? Will the One Show-winning double-truck hold the reader’s attention? Will it motivate purchase?
It’s not my place to say who BooneOakley ought to hire. I can only say the only award show concept I’m comfortable with, is one where the audience gets a voice. I don’t care what other creative directors think. I care what customers think.



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.