I was most recently reminded of this last night, when my pal @reelspit posted a link on Twitter to Wieden + Kennedy's new Platform, a
sort of pop-up agency, based in London, that will exist from six to nine months, depending, composed of 12 recruits. Platform is:
Just the fact that this language borrows so heavily from the tech world tells you something: that the tools that have been used to make advertising creative -- and, indeed, all kinds of creative -- increasingly have second-class status. It's as though we've been obsessed with what colors to paint the house when what really matters is how the house is built -- that's where the creativity lies.
You can also look at Cannes winners and see this principle at work again. What kinds of things won? An online-only Philips film that relies not just on special effects, but interactivity, to execute the idea to its fullest; the election campaign of Barack Obama and Joe Biden, fueled by technologies like Twitter to make its ideas and fundraising messages come alive; an app by AKQA from Fiat to help drivers see how environmentally friendly their driving habits are. You get the drift. The communications messages ride on top of the technologies, without which they would be impossible to execute.
While this isn't expressly a social media phenomenon, social media is deeply embedded within it. The open source movement, grasped by major social media players like Twitter and Facebook, has really taken hold in the social age. Not only have Twitter and Facebook made for more ways to discuss and share ideas, but they expose more people, particularly communications professionals, to the power of those ideas. Open source has been around for a long time, but most of the people I hang out with professionally have about as much interest in Linux as they do in Linus.
But seeing something like Twitter in action -- not to mention all of the apps built on top of the basic product -- and you begin to realize how creative these technologies are. Just when you think all of the ways to communicate have been invented, some great creative mind thinks up another one: a way for people to communicate with each other in large groups, creating the biggest conversation of all time. While more and more companies are finding interesting ways to use Twitter, the most essential piece of creative is the application itself.
In conclusion, if you want to make great creative, think about technology.