DDB's Ari Weiss: 'Storytelling has a longer shelf life than technology and is the source for creativity'

Ari Weiss

With new technological innovations becoming more commonplace, creativity and the art of storytelling are increasingly the best route to the consumer today for brands. Those are the thoughts of DDB North America's chief creative officer Ari Weiss.

“You can use technology to breakthrough but it has a short shelf life because it becomes, by definition, mainstream,” says Weiss in an interview with Beet.TV in which he explains why he looks forward to the 2017 Cannes Lions festival with few expectations other than “to be surprised.”

Weiss, who was appointed to his role in late 2016 to run DDB’s 17 offices in North America, observes that brands are getting a lot more now out of telling their story and are able to define what is their role in the world, why they exist and how they are going to make the world better for their consumers.

Consumers, meanwhile, “are looking for those stories again versus just kind of trendy tech innovations.”

Weiss perceives a renaissance in sight, sound and motion media because they are quick for the mind to process and are easily shared. It started with YouTube, where people could access things previously available only from such sources as America’s Funniest Home Videos.

As story telling evolves, there are some restraints and a tendency towards inflexibility. At DBB, Weiss tells his creative team “Let’s not make stuff long to just make stuff long. Let’s make stuff long if it’s in better service of the idea.”

He rarely walks into the creative marketplace that is Cannes with “too much expectations.” He’d rather be surprised by the great thinking he invariably encounters.

“We go there to be surprised. We go there to come back with an insane amount of jealousy for what our friends at other places have done, because that’s what drives us,” says Weiss.

For more on marketing insights on storytelling, turn to The Drum's new series What's the Story?

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