“There’s a lot of bullshitters out there” Adam Kean, executive creative director of Crispin Porter + Bogusky London and one of those featured in the upcoming Assorted Nuts coffee table book featuring some of the UK’s greatest creative minds, has stated while discussing the knowledge of some working within the advertising industry who claim to have digital expertise.
As part of Julian Hanford’s Assorted Nuts book, commissioned by The Drum and featuring exclusive portraits of some the UK’s top creative directors, The Drum has released an interview with Kean prior to his joining CPB as its creative chief.
Within the interview, conducted by The Drum’s editor at large, Dave Birss, Kean discussed how he landed his first job in advertising in the late 80s at Saatchi and Saatchi, which saw him eventually become executive creative director, only to be succeeded by on David Droga upon his departure. He would also head up the creative department at Public Worldwide London before finally arriving at CPB last year.
Discussing the advent of digital into the world of advertising over a decade ago, he admitted that it created ‘a conundrum’ for creative departments, with massive projects taking up the whole team and away from other projects as a result, but added that “the new stuff” was what excited him and made him “feel young again.”
However, he warned that many working within advertising still did not fully understand online.
“If there’s one thing that the internet and digital has done it’s created a lot of bullshitters bullshitting about it. It’s not as complicated as they are making out. It’s still the same old stuff at its essence. It should be exciting and create ambition rather than create a mechanic’s way of talking about it, when they bullshit you because they think you don’t know what they’re talking about. I love it when a room full of people are excited by the work and when you can do that with a client that’s great, unfortunately a lot of advertising people tend to default and bullshit a client, which is unfortunate. “
Kean also bemoaned the way that creative teams are treated within networks, with strict targets to meet, and discussed his view that those working in advertising should remember not to think the customer is stupid.
“When people say ‘it’s a conversation’ just be aware of who you are. They’re not stupid, they know you’re trying to sell them something. They know there’s a pay off for you, you’re not spending money for no reason. You can get under the radar, you can have conversations with cynical consumers if you talk to them in a certain way. There’s also a lot of people who don’t want to have a conversation at all. It’s a real balance and a hard one to strike up but it has to be on a project by project basis.”