DDB Prefers Fables, Not Facts

"We need data -- but there is a difference between Big Data and a big idea," says DDB's Keith Reinhard. DDB doubles down on creative work. Connecting with emotion is more effective than persuading with facts or figures, says Reinhard.

"We are facing one of the most dramatic changes in the industry," he says. "Can't tell you how often I hear that. But it is also good to think about what doesn't change. Human nature is timeless. The drive to survive and succeed, to be loved and belong -- those things are timeless," he says. "What else is timeless is creativity and ideas." He mentions one iconic creative that asks how does the snowplow man drive to the snowplow? He takes a Volkswagen. Those emotionally connected messages resonate long after the :30-second spot.

Reinhard joined DDB North America's Wendy Clark for a frank discussion about the current state of advertising and its own organization during Advertising Week 2016.

Clark has been one of the leading voices encouraging diversity within the the industry. All of her employees will complete unconscious bias training by the end of the year.

"We value how people work as much as what they do," says Clark. For too long, we tolerated bad behavior. They are talented but don't like to play with others." These mavericks have no place at DDB. The agency needs to move with speed and efficiency and those individuals aren't collaborative. They don't work well with others. "That will inhibit our abilities to meet the needs of the marketplace."

"Diversity is important-- it is the right thing to do, the right thing to do for business," says Clark. When DDB is only recruiting a narrow segment, "there is a lot of talent and potential we are missing."

DDB is pioneering a new "agency of the present" with new client McDonald's. Data and intelligence will be at the core, with supporting units including a "micro-editorial" team and "mega" team to deliver the big campaign platform. These will serve as the front-end to the intelligence center, she says.

While this bespoke business may only be for the restaurant chain, it represents a new direction for the agency. DDB wants to bring all of its capabilities and talent based on their business. "And go from there," says Clark.

Clark has only been at the helm for nine months and she says she is most proud of the latest State Farm work. The insurance company stands as an important client working with the agency since 1939. "The press isn't interested in those long relationships," says Reinhard. He worked with Barry Manilow to originally create the State Farm jingle.

Potential employers may want to read up on the "Art of War." Clark channels the five tenets from Sun Tsu when it comes to her leadership decisions asking whether she is brave, caring, disciplined, smart and trustworthy, she says.

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