People First

The Creative Revolution 2.0

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Benjamin Vendramin, our Global and U.S. Chief Creative & Content Officer, champions the new era of media as a fuel for creativity in his op-ed 'The Creative Revolution 2.0'.

When we change how we work, we change what we make.

When I started in this business, I was a bushy-tailed, bright-eyed art director who firmly believed in the power of "The Big Idea."

Working with a copywriter, I would spend countless hours digging for surprising and memorable ways to communicate a brand message. An idea that establishes a brand's image and defines its voice couldn't be a one-off; it had to have "legs," or many iterations. And it had to have the flexibility to work across TV, radio and print.

This way of working, created in the 1960s by Bill Bernbach, spawned advertising's "creative revolution." It changed how advertising was made and has been the creative orthodoxy for half a century.

I feel lucky to have started working with a copywriter and learning the ropes of brand positioning, which I believe should be the foundation of anyone learning the business. But when the world has so dramatically evolved, the same old won't do. As Bernbach said when he first coupled art directors and copywriters, "Our business is in constant need to evolve."

Today, our attention is fragmented over platforms that have changed the media landscape beyond recognition. From the always-on presence of social media, to the proliferation of online video, to the rise of streaming, the skyrocketing growth of gaming, the reinvention of how we shop and the addressable media revolution, we've had more change in the last 12 months than perhaps in the last decade.

The canvas is no longer as simple as TV, radio or print. Gone are the days when briefs disappear for a month or more only to reappear, as if by magic, with a "media agnostic" idea that comes in the form of a TV commercial and is then cut, spliced and force-fit into other platforms.

We have entered a new era where the canvas and the tools for creative development have expanded our capabilities, opening up innovative, engaging and interactive ways to connect that go well beyond the 30-second commercial.

We need to fundamentally change the way we work to deliver storytelling that grabs the attention of today's audiences. Other creative industries like music, film and literature have reinvented themselves; it's time we did, too. Here are three principles that can help you do that.

1. Audiences do not delineate between media and creative, so neither should we.

I've learned working at a media agency that meaningfully connecting with audiences requires a multidisciplinary team of experts. These people are all creative in their own right — a blend of art and science, built on a modern chassis where media and creative work as a holistic team. Together they can leverage the cross-pollinating possibilities that lead to more relevant, data-driven insights and address today's media consumption behaviors.

When we change how we work, we change what we make. By bringing media and creative together, we can better see the bigger picture for our clients; not just how each media channel works, but how they all work together — optimizing communications at every touchpoint.

2. Media is fuel for creativity

Winning the battle over media complexity requires media intelligence: data, technology and partnerships to get the right piece of content in front of the right person at the right moment. After spending most of my career at creative agencies, I was drawn to a media agency three years ago when I realized that media has the resources to fuel today's creativity requirements:

  • An idea that connects with culture beyond ads
  • Creative that’s relevant to how people consume content within various platforms.
  • Creative based on behavioral data to create a relevant message to the moment, place and context in which it connects with the consumer.

3. We are all creative

When we say 'an idea can come from anywhere,' we must mean it and nurture it. If a company relegates creativity to a department or handful of people, it can stifle potential. Creativity is amorphous and ever-expanding. What once was a creative concept across TV, radio and print has evolved into addressable media, data storytelling, personalization at scale, data-driven production, branded content, partnerships, experiential — the list goes on.

Just like the "creative revolution" in the '60s, we can create a modern way of working that sees marketing problems through multiple lenses, harnessing the power of a brand's ecosystem to reach audiences in more effective ways.

Instead of doing the same things expecting different results, it's time to do things differently and expect better results.

Benjamin Vendramin is global and U.S. chief creative and content officer at MediaCom.

This was first featured in Campaign U.S. on October 7, 2021.

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