Assorted Nuts: The advertising industry is ‘backtracking’ warns Enter’s creative partner Paul Shearer

The advertising industry is “backtracking a bit” as clients push and challenge creatives in new ways, Paul Shearer, creative partner at Enter has said.

Paul Shearer pictured by Jules Hanford for Assorted Nuts

As part of Julian Hanford’s Assorted Nuts book, in association with The Drum and featuring exclusive portraits of some the UK’s top creative directors, The Drum has released an interview with Shearer during his time as Arnold Worldwide's chief creative officer.

Speaking to The Drum’s editor at large, Dave Birss last year, Shearer talked about his transition from a junior creative at BBDH in the late 80s to his position at Arnold Worldwide via spells at Leo Burnett and Bartle Bogle Hegarty, and discussed how digital has shaped the advertising industry.

Lamenting the loss of heroes in advertising today, Shearer said that although there are plenty of “incredibly nice people” no one is truly standing up for the business and having strong opinions. “It may be the economy but it might just be that the advertising business is now almost backtracking a bit because clients are pushing us and getting us to do stuff in a different way,” he said.

“Maybe we’re going through a bit of an evolution but there are no real stars up there that are leading the way.”

He attributed this to the amount of fragmentation in the industry and also the collaborative approach that creative people now take to producing work.

“I think in the old days the creative person was very much the person who, even if the opinion was totally different, you really felt they could stand up and be heard,” he said. “I worry that these days everything is done too much by a committee.”

Shearer added: “Clients have got a lot of business outside what we [agencies] do and I guess they've been exposed to the business a bit more and more digital agencies that can do things. Clients are taking advantage of the accessibility that they've been given. The competition is fierce, we are in a world where everyone has ideas and have access to ideas and technology has probably enabled that. I think it’s a good thing and creative people have to remember why they are in the business.”

Shearer also warned that older people in advertising shouldn't get stuck in the past and aired his view that more should be done to in the industry to invest in future talent.

“I think it’s easy to come across as a bit of an old fart. I try not to talk about the past because that doesn’t help when it comes to talking to a 22 year old digital programmer who is doing another form of media. You need to embrace the future and be open minded and most importantly be energetic. That’s got to be a wow factor in everything you see and do and it is important that we all encourage younger people who have different skills and traits.”

See here for more information on Assorted Nuts, which also features creatives such as Sir John Hegarty and Rosie Arnold.

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