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.