Has Social Media Killed Creativity?

McCann Melbourne ECD and D&AD Awards Judge John Mescall, it seems, is not a fan of social media and its effect on advertising creativity. Of today's real-time mania, Mescall said, “Designers seem to get the time and space to execute beautifully and perfectly while the advertising industry seems rushed. I think we are driven by immediacy and social currency and that seems to be driving our industry ever onwards. This whole idea of being part of the social conversation has sped up everything we do. You look at the visual communication from the design field compared to advertising and they are miles apart in complexity and craftsmanship.” He just may have a point. While beautiful work still exists, there is an endless plethora of crap from brands that fill social streams on a daily basis. And let's not even get started with the parade of pointlessness generated in the good name of content marketing.

Bob Barocci, a well-known name in the ad world who was President of Leo Burnett International and built up the stature of the Advertising Research Foundation, died last Thursday in Manhattan at the age of 72. Of Barocci, Leo Burnett Vice Chairman Dennis Barnham said he was "the best all-around advertising man I have ever worked with. Of his work for the ARF, board member Jack Wakshlag, chief research officer for Turner Broadcasting said, "Perhaps the greatest gift Bob has given to the ARF is an extraordinary strong platform that will continue to grow and be relevant for the foreseeable future."

Not every bit of advertising awesomeness occurs on Madison Avenue. In fact, very little advertising awesomeness occurs on Madison Avenue any longer. It's no longer 1968, and advertising awesomeness is now everywhere. In Minnetonka, MN, an agency called Horizontal Integration has, in the past ten tears, grown from a two-person shop to an agency with over 70 employees and offices in both Minnetonka and Denver. The agency's revenue grew 41% in the last year alone, and they've been dubbed one of America's top job creators on Inc. Magazine's Build 100 Index. Of their position on the Index, Inc. Economist in Residence Gary Kunkle said: “More than 72% of all new U.S. jobs are created by 1% of companies. The Build 100 represents that top 1 percent of that one percent. They should be celebrated, but they must also be studied so that we can better understand the decisions, priorities, investments and strategies that helped them grow.” Founder and CEO Sabin Ephren attributes the agency's success to a unique combination of creativity and in-house technology division that sure all the "technical plumbing" required of today's campaigns works flawlessly.

Branded entertainment and cross-media storytelling shop, Campfire, has been acquired by Sapient Nitro and will help fuel the agency's deeper foray into the world of interactive film. Campfire, founded in 2007 by the producers of The Blair Witch Project, was awarded Ad Age's Small Agency Campaign of the Year in 2013 for its work on Cinemax's Hunted as well as Small Agency of the Year by our very own MediaPost OMMA Magazine in 2011. Of their becoming part of Sapient Nitro, Campfire President Jeremiah Rosen said: “We’re thrilled to be joining SapientNitro, an agency that we see really breaking boundaries as storytelling advances through the application of technology. In an environment where film is evolving from a passive medium to an active and increasingly interactive one, their passion for blurring the lines of media and driving the future of how consumers connect is in deep alignment with everything we have created at Campfire.”

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1 comment about "Has Social Media Killed Creativity? ".
  1. Brad Michaelson from Brand Canyon at Runway 21 Studios , March 31, 2014 at 6:18 p.m.
    Social media's insatiable demand for content has certainly compressed the creative process and compromised the quality of much of the "finished product". That said, I don't think it has killed creativity as much as it's made it harder to find the really good stuff.
  • Zimmerman Advertising Hired to Make This Fast-Growing Sports Nutrition Brand Grow Even Faster

    Did you know that Fort Lauderdale-based Zimmerman Advertising is one of the nation's leading retail agencies? Well that's what the press release said so it must be true. And guess what else? The agency has been hired by the world's fastest-growing sports nutrition company to grow even faster! Yes, it's true! The press release said so!

    The agency will take on the $15 million account for BPI Sports, a sports nutrition company. 

    Of selecting Zimmerman to handle its business, BPI Sports Co-Founder and EVP James Grage said, "Hiring an ad agency is a key ingredient to significantly grow our business, establish BPI Sports as the premier sports nutrition brand, and position our company as an iconic, multi-channel business. Most agencies are full of smoke and mirrors and don't deliver on what they promise. It was refreshing to finally find one who's as good at making ads as they are at making money for their clients. I have no doubt Zimmerman will generate powerful results for BPI."

    Clearly, BPI Sports believes it has selected the right agency for its business. The agency is on a roll having also just won American Media, a health and fitness publisher.

  • This New York Agency May Or May Not Have Won the Vans Account

    Press releases. They make you yawn. These committee-written documents are stuffed with silly platitudes aimed to placate marketing directors who still believe journalists want to read stuff that looks like it was written by a robot.

    And so I'd like to give a big shout out to New York-based Catch which issued a hilarious gem of a release touting the fact they "may have been retained by the legendary brand Vans to develop an extremely confidential project, which may or may not be released this year."

    The release goes on to quote an un-named (of course) Vans spokesperson who said, "We can neither confirm nor deny that Vans has retained Catch New York. All we are willing to say is that they seem pretty cool and creative and if we were going to hire an agency to help us launch something really awesome, we would hire Catch. But that's all we'll say."

    On the agency side, Catch ECD Marco Cignini said, "We're thrilled, excited, honored and humbled to be a part of the team that might be creating something amazing for Vans.”
  • OK So It's Not Called Spiffly But Alex Bogusky Did Launch A 'Social Impact Agency Platform'

    Last week I made note of Alex Bogusky launching a start-up that that would focus on doing social good and that it would be called Spiffly. The first part was right. The second part was wrong. The new entity will be called Fearless and "will help socially-minded corporations, foundations and non-profits develop 360° campaigns while providing the added value of a built-in millennial audience through Fusion's television, social and digital platforms."

    Fearless will be a division of Disney/ABC/Univision's cable network and digital platform Fusion and run in partnership with Bogusky, former CP+B'ers Dagny Scott and Lelsie Freeman. Fearless will "enable clients to engage with an ultra-connected audience in all of the places they consume media. The agency will develop multi-platform content spanning video, art, text, comedy, documentaries, television, events, and sharable content, all with an eye toward raising awareness and moving millennials to action on key issues and ideas that encourage positive change in the world."

    Of the launch, Bogusky said, "Mashing up agency and media solves a huge problem for socially-minded clients who have incredibly compelling messages but no way to find their audience. Fusion is striking the right tone. Although millennials are more interested in doing good, they aren’t motivated by the same old dry boring, righteous approach. They have the attitude that changing the world can and needs to be fun. And I happen to agree with that.” 

    Fusion will be opening an office in Boulder, Colorado where Fearless will be based.

  • This 'Dematerialized Agency' Needs Scotty to Beam It Back to Earth

    You know, if an advance alien race arrives on earth and learned all the languages in the world, they'd still never be able to understand what the hell marketing and advertising people are talking about.

    Get a load of this winning piece of blatherific business babble: "DOZ, the leading curated marketing marketplace that successfully connects brands with top-notch marketing professionals is taking over the industry with a growing platform. The company announces they now have 5K international marketers on its virtual platform. DOZ is the new dematerialized agency propelling brands into the next era of marketing."

    Dematerialized agency? What. The Actual. F*ck? Sidenote: I had to right that exact phrase yesterday when Saatchi & Saatchi CEO Kevin "head in the clouds" Roberts said marketing is all about table licking. Perhaps one of my editors encapsulated DOZ's desire to be a dematerialized agency better by saying, "It was bad enough getting disintermediated, now Madison Avenue isn't even living in a material world." Cue Madonna. 

    And Scotty, if you see this agency's dematerialized particles floating about the universe in your afterlife, please give them a swift kick in the ass and beam them back to reality.
  • Saatchi & Saatchi Opens Dallas Office, Will Recruit At SXSW

    Are you going to SXSW? Do you want a new job? Then, it appears, you might want to hook up with Saatchi & Saatchi, which is opening up a Dallas office and will be trolling the streets of Austin during SXSW for new hires. 

    The new office is for the agency's Team One unit, which focuses specifically on the Toyota and Lexus accounts. The agency's move to Texas is in reaction to Toyota moving its U.S. sales and marketing operations to Plano, Texas. 

    And so between barbecue and overcrowded sessions, head over to the SXSW Job Market at the JW Marriott (Floor 2). The hours are Friday, March 13 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Saturday, March 14 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

  • MRY Hires Drones As Employees, Says They Will Be A Game Changer

    As part of its sponsorship of the New York City Drone Film Festival (yeah, apparently it's a thing), MRY put out a video which envisions what life would be like in an agency if it hired several drones as employees. 

    The comical, tongue-in-cheek video stunt has MRY CEO Matt Britton waxing eloquently just like any other agency CEO might do when talking about whatever bleeding edge, innovative, cut-through-the-clutter stunt of the week agencies are so prone to do.

    Britton talks about a crop of drones that have come into the agency with some tremendous creativity and yet the rest of the agency isn't so high on the idea complaining about the more scary elements of the drones. Britton isn't deterred. He thinks they're going to be a game changer.

    Watch the video here.
  • Saatchi & Saatchi's Kevin Roberts Says Marketing Is Now All About Table Licking

    Hmm. First, TV was dead. Then advertising was dead. Now, according to Saatch & Saatchi Worldwide CEO Kevin -- aka Mr. Lovemarks -- Roberts, marketing is dead. Now it's all about creating a "movement." Yeah, that sounds about right. The kind of movement one makes when they visit the bathroom. 

    But Roberts is a bit more eloquent saying: “You do that by figuring out how you add mystery, sensuality and intimacy to a brand. Sensuality: we feel the world in five senses. Whether you like this room or not, [the architect] Antonio Citterio designed it and all five senses are at work in here. I mean, people want to lick this table.”

    What. The. Actual. F*ck?

    If Lovemarks wasn't crazy enough, now Roberts wants us to go around licking the brands we love. What is up with that, dude?

    Apparently, though, his followers at the agency love him. One such follower put it thusly: “His personality does not transfer to paper. He overdoses on the bullshit massively, but he is a great leader and without him Saatchi & Saatchi would probably not exist.”

    Overdoses on bullshit. Yeah, that sounds about right.
  • Fuel Interactive Re-Brands to Fuel Because, Well, Typing Two Words Took Too Long

    The agency formerly known as Fuel Interactive, not to be confused with Fuel Industries -- oh wait, they changed their name too -- has changed their name to, simply, Fuel. Why? Well, as the press release says, "to better reflect the effect the addition of their capabilities has on a client's business." Okay...so the agency now just fuels brands? But not interactively? Wait, is there still such a thing as non-interactive marketing? I'm confused.

    Maybe Fuel CEO Stuart Butler can explain more succinctly. He says: “It’s been a period of unprecedented growth for us here at Fuel. With these changes came a fundamental shift in our focus and how we approached solving problems for our clients. We found that our old name no longer captured the essence -- the spirit and energy -- we are looking to bring to the market. We needed something that reflected what we really are, what we really do for our customers.”

    Right. Because no other agency on the planet fuels growth for their clients, right? I think everyone in the agency just got tired of typing Fuel Interactive all the time. Now they can just type Fuel. Because, you know, shorter is always better.

    In any case, they agency is excited about the change. Butler adds: “The rebranding has ignited us to reinvent the way that the hotel and travel industry does marketing. Our services make hotel marketing simple. And our new logo, new Web site and tagline provide a new feel and energy that brings us to an entirely new level of drive.”
  • New Cannes Glass Lion to Eradicate Boobs, Booty And Dumb Dads From Advertising

    As if there weren't already enough Cannes Lions awards to suck the ad world dry with entry fees, now there's another one. Cannes has introduced the Glass Lion to honor work that shatters gender stereotypes. The organization notes the award "specifically recognizes work that challenges gender bias and shatters stereotypical images of men and women which remain rooted in marketing."

    It would seem the aim of the new award is to root out sexism, misogyny, misandry and all other forms of gender stereotyping from advertising. What a bummer. I'm going to miss those Carl's Jr. ads. Okay, kidding. Well, maybe not completely.

    Anyway, Cannes has brought in the master of stereotype eradication to head up the Glass Lion Jury. Founder and CEO of IfWeRanTheWorld, MakeLoveNotPorn and former founder of BBH New York Cindy Gallop will head the jury. Gallop is a well-known proponent of proper gender representation in advertising.

    Of the award category, Gallop says, “I couldn't be more thrilled about the introduction of the Glass Lion, which demonstrates Cannes Lions' commitment to ensuring that both our industry and the work we create not only more accurately reflects the world around us, but actively changes it for the better. I am honored to be Jury President, and look forward, together with the jury, to celebrating work that will set the gold standard for creative and sociocultural change."

    Now even though Cannes Lions may never stop bleeding the industry dry with its entry fees, the organization will allocate all the Glass Lion entry fee proceeds into programming that promotes a more gender-neutral media landscape.
  • This Director Of Earned Media Wants To Be Ace Ventura Pet Detective

    While every morning she's grateful her clients haven't become part of some social media disaster and Twitter is her go to outlet for news, Huge (no, she isn't huge -- that's the name of the agency) Director of Earned Media Alyssa Galella says that if she weren't working at Huge, she'd love to be "a detective. Or work in an animal shelter. I would basically be Ace Ventura, Pet Detective."

    That's an interesting goal for a woman who was recently named one of PR Week's Innovation 50 or who accomplished a killer social media stunt by sending 99 boxes of Cap'N Crunch cereal to Jay-Z who later mentioned the stunt on the radio. Of course, yes -- she's just kidding, but Ace Ventura who certainly was a character. And I like people who aspire to be interesting characters.

    But what's most interesting about Galella, who is far from being an old timer, is her wise view of social media today. She says, "There's no longer a dividing line between 'media' and 'social media.' You need to be fluent in both traditional media relations and social media to do your job most effectively. Most of what I've learned hasn't been on the clock, either -- take the initiative to read a ton, be active on social media, attend events, and take classes you're interested in." You know -- become educated in the ways of life. 

    Thank God. Someone who doesn't think Facebook, Twitter and Snapchat are the only valid forms of media in existence.

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