Crispin Porter Chairman: 'Go Overboard' When Creating Ads

When it comes to creating Web ads, loosen up, take risks, and go interactive. That's the advice a panel of agency creative directors offered on building successful campaigns for a medium that puts consumers in control.

In a keynote address Tuesday at the OMMA conference, Chuck Porter of Crispin, Porter & Bogusky--known for pathbreaking creative work--encouraged audience members to "go overboard" in developing online ads. Marketers should take advantage of the freewheeling nature of the Web and its inherent interactivity to push creative boundaries.

As an example, he pointed to an integrated campaign that Crispin, Porter created for Burger King highlighting the chain's Star Wars promotion. It included a Web site that allowed visitors to play a game of 20 Questions with Darth Vader (who was assisted by the costumed Burger King pitchman.)

Rather than simply recycling TV spots, "we try to make most online components something people can people can play with, because that's the magic of it," said Porter.

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Other panelists agreed that the Internet offered a forum for greater experimentation. "The Internet gives people the opportunity to be a bit less politically correct," said Simon Needham, co-founder and group creative director at branding firm Attik. He noted that traditional media imposes certain restrictions that don't necessarily apply to the Internet yet.

Likewise, Leo Premutico, executive creative director at Saatchi & Saatchi, said the success of viral Web content had pushed clients to go for more entertaining creative work. "You have to take risks to compete with this very entertaining platform of the Internet," he said.

Ty Montague, chief creative officer and co-president at JWT New York, called the Web "the world's biggest focus group." Because of the instant feedback the Internet allows, he said that a shift is underway toward creating more spots less expensively to find out what approach works best.

But as far as unlocking the secret of what makes for great creative work, the panel had few words of wisdom. "It's very hard to do," said Porter. "It's a bitch."

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