Legendary Brand Architect Says CGC Is “Like Pulling Your Own Teeth”

Adweek talked to Phil Dusenberry, the 71-year-old former chairman and chief creative officer of BBDO North America, who is being inducted into The One Club Creative Hall of Fame this week.
Here’s a selection of his thoughts on the state of advertising today:

Q.What do you think of the state of copywriting, given that we have user-generated content and consumer influence in the creative process?
A. As far as consumer-generated content, I think that’s a joke because you should leave it to the pros to get something done. You may luck out and catch an idea from some amateur, but that’s not really the way to go.
Q. So, you think it’s a fad.
A. I don’t think it’s going to last, and you’re going to see it take a powder very soon.
Q. Even though “consumer engagement” is the phrase of the moment?
A. The whole idea of consumers generating ideas is like pulling your own teeth as a dentist. Leave it to the professionals. That’s what they’re paid for.
Q. What is the creative trend that worries you most?
A. It’s getting away from the brand-building advertising that you want to see on television. That is a dangerous point and we have to be careful of that. I mean, the Internet is all well and good and these other digital avenues are very valid. But if it pulls you away from the image building that you try to create, then you have a bit of a problem.

For more on Dusenberry, see New York Magazine’s lengthy profile from three years ago, or buy his cleverly-titled book.

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 now head of brand strategy and creative direction at Bonehook in Portland, Oregon.