Advertising Agency

In the battle for the soul of the industry, creativity is holy water

By Greg Hahn | ECD

BBDO New York

|

Opinion article

May 14, 2018 | 3 min read

As we enter into this, the season of shiny metal objects, many around the industry, including some agency holding companies, have begun to ponder the underlining existential question of award shows – does creativity matter?

Now, more than any other time in the industry, I propose it does.

Creativity is a competitive advantage. The one advantage that can’t be matched by machine.

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As the procurers procure, and the mathematicians measure, we must never forget the power of an idea.

The power of an idea to change attitudes and businesses.

The intangible magic that comes from those who can turn insights into expressions, connecting to the head via the heart.

As we struggle with the roles of the modern agency in tomorrow’s world, do not be tempted to sacrifice the power of ideas at the altar of efficiency.

Any piece of content, no matter how precisely targeted or efficiently made, is a waste of money if no one cares.

It is no secret the industry is changing. The landscape is constantly shifting. This is a good thing. Stability leads to stagnation.

As the entire industry forges through this new world of lower budgets and higher tech, creative agencies must be the ones to lead the way.

Agencies need to work smarter, and faster, and in different ways. This we can do. It is far easier for agencies to adapt and become nimble than it is for analytical firms to suddenly become creative. Creativity is a culture, not a line-item.

But in order to do this, in order for agencies to thrive, now more than ever, we must prove our worth every day.

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And that worth comes from the one part of this business that cannot be commoditized, homogenized and should never be marginalized – Creativity.

Amen.

Greg Hahn is the chief creative officer of BBDO New York. Visit The Drum's Creative Works page here.

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