During the past couple months, we have been looking at the complaints in the advertising industry about the lack of talent and creativity. There must be some underlying factor as to why these complaints continue to carry on, or maybe it's the combination of a few issues snowballed into something larger. Perhaps the recruitment of talent is the issue. True, the advertising industry needs more diversity within its ranks and leadership, but that has been the case for decades. Is it what the people want? Are the consumers content with the kind of advertising they are seeing today? Research and consumer advocacy activity would lean toward the negative. After examining several cases, you professionals have finally come out to give us your feedback, which was surprisingly unified. We knew it had something to do with the gatekeepers, and shifted the blame to the brands' executive suite. You ladies and gentlemen told us that your ideas and processes were killed much further down the chain.
The issue lies with corporate marketers.
It is interesting that a number of comments from advertising professionals went straight to the corporate folks they work with. One of the biggest complaints was the time frame in which the agency had to create, produce, and implement its activities.
Below is one of the comments from our post, "Is Experience the Problem in Advertising?":
Today, creatives are tasked with coming up with the strategies as well as the creative executions in a third the time we had just 10 years ago. Creatives in the '60s and '70s used to do that, but they had 2-4 weeks just to come up with ideas... followed by 4-8 weeks to execute them. Today, you're lucky to get 2-4 weeks for a completed campaign.
It still takes creative people to get solid ideas, and it takes insight and research to make sure those creative ideas have the chance to be successful. If "Kagey," the person who wrote the comment above, is part of the average, then the agency community is not being placed in a position to succeed. Yes, the pace in which business is being done has picked up, but if corporate marketers know the pace, then they can plan accordingly and give agency personnel ample time.
Another commenter was less forgiving. They believe that the people being recruited into the corporate marketing world are not being hired because of their creativity.
In my experience, none of these so-called marketing execs have a creative bone between them. They have no vision, they dumb everything down and they art direct projects into the gutter. How in the world do you expect there to be mind-blowing creative floating around out there?
If brand managers are supposed to steer the brand, why does "nycdesign" have this sour perspective? It could be how the marketer is indoctrinated into the culture set forth by the executive suite. The agency world is fortunate enough that being "untraditional" is considered traditional. Many brand managers do not have the sense of freedom we tend to enjoy. When it comes to creativity, they are confined to "brand standards" and "communications compliance" and other regulation phrases that make us cringe.
There is a disconnect between corporate marketers and the agency community, and it looks like the gap is only getting wider. As the political world takes its faux war to advertising, businesses are trying to tighten up, yet demand new ideas and at a faster pace. The advertising world wants more freedom to push better ideas and to figure out how to survive this interconnected world. Something has to give.
The ANA and the 4A's attempted to tackle this problem with their Agency/Client relationship guide, which had its 15 minutes of fame. The guide was full of simple and obvious ideas, and it's no wonder that it wasn't taken seriously. The simple solutions, it seems, are the hardest to implement. There is something peculiar in the system between agency and corporate that prohibits progress.
Hopefully we figure something out. This "lack of creativity and talent" argument is dragging on, and we should aim to solve it, rather than living with it