Lee Clow – Worldwide Director of Media Arts
We are at the beginning of the most exciting time the advertising” business has ever seen. While lots of people are talking about the challenge of the multi-media future, I believe it is the biggest opportunity for creative minds since the ‘60’s.
New technology hasn’t simply made our media options broader, it’s actually changed the model that brands have to operate in. Our talent is still about storytelling but using new delivery systems, formats, screens and experiences that have become opportunities for brands.
First, we have to re-think what we call media. Media used to be simply a way for brands to target consumers, but today, media is the way that people are engaging with the world around them. Really, media is just any space between a brand and the audience. And in fact, I believe the best brands will become media themselves: the places, spaces, experiences people choose to spend time with. Already, the Apple stores are a media experience, and iTunes is serving millions of songs, podcasts and playlists – all media of the brand. And others like Nike, adidas and Virgin are shaping their brands to make themselves a medium through which people experience their lives.
And as brands become media, agencies will have to become passionate across complete brand experiences, not just the media we are currently comfortable in. And we have to stop striving to be media neutral, we have to be media passionate. Media agnostic has been a big buzz word, but I think that‘s the wrong idea. We need a POV to bring expertise to treating media as creative. Tailoring creative ideas to the strengths and relevance of each media. We must stop talking about above the line/below the line, media as traditional or non-traditional and instead talk passionately about ideas that invite people into our brands, wherever that may be.
I also believe that we can’t treat people as consumers anymore. They have alread become audiences. They expect to be surprised and entertained. They mesh, mash, tune in or ignore what they want. So brands first need to capture people’s attention – today’s generations grew up with off and skip buttons. We must understand this entire shift – as both an art and a science. I’m challenging TBWA\ to understand, brand by brand, how people are using media across their lives. It changes the opportunities we serve up to clients. It changes the ways brands should behave in culture. It means we match audience behaviors to media opportunities and make media ideas the creative ideas themselves.
I may be one of the oldest art directors still working but I see the future more optimistically than I did 30 years ago. Our job, our responsibility to the brands we work for, is to do more than a good ad. It’s about becoming artists in all media. It’s about finding the idea that can orchestrate a brand. It’s about telling a brand’s story using the world as our medium.