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PHD launches limited podcast series ‘Creativity Unwrapped’

by Jess Weller

August 30, 2022

Four-part series explores the role of creativity in marketing and how creative ideas can lead to real business impact

Creativity is fundamental to marketing, advertising, and media. It communicates brands and products in compelling and innovative ways. Creativity grows businesses and transforms categories. It challenges us, inspires us, surprises us, and delights us. It connects us to ideas and each other. Creativity can change the world.

In Creativity Unwrapped, a new podcast series from PHD, PHD’s Worldwide Chief Marketing Officer Chris Stephenson, explores the role of creativity in marketing with perspectives from world-class industry leaders, combined with analysis of Grand Prix winners from this year’s Cannes Lions Festival of Creativity.

In the first episode, ‘Creativity and Purpose’, available now, Stephenson and guests discuss the role of brand purpose, how creativity can bring that purpose to life, and the importance of maintaining credibility.

Speakers include Paul Kemp-Robertson, Co-Founder of Contagious; Philippa Brown, CEO of PHD Worldwide; Melanie Pennec, Executive Creative Director of DDB Paris; and Kimberlee Wells, CEO of TBWA Melbourne, and TBWA Adelaide.

Key talking points include:

Why authenticity and responsibility are at the heart of purpose thinking

Brands are transforming to address the social inequalities in the world, and they are using their global voice to represent the unrepresented.

In Creativity Unwrapped, Kemp-Robertson says that he’s “always been fascinated by the power of brands” and continues, “along with a great level of consumer trust and reputation, brands have this creative weaponry in their arsenal – in the form of agencies – generating fantastic cut-through ideas, which can then be broadcast to the masses”.

He goes on to ask Brown whether she feels a sense of responsibility as an industry leader to use creativity for good. “Absolutely!” says Brown. “There is a huge responsibility for agencies to focus on purpose for the greater good and it’s essential to find the right balance.”

Pennec adds, “I always ask my clients, ‘are you able to talk comfortably on purpose?’ If not, it’s best not to comment because your consumers are savvy, and they will see through purpose for purpose’s sake.”

Purpose-driven work seen at Cannes Lions Festival 2022:

‘The Breakaway’

Award-winning purpose-driven work that was recognised with Grand Prixs at this year’s Cannes Lions included ‘The Breakaway’ project by sports retailer Decathlon. This campaign showed inmates from Oudenaarde, a maximum-security prison in Belgium, competing in virtual cycling challenges with people around the world.

In the podcast, Kemp-Robertson unwraps the purpose and impact of the campaign:

“Sport has benefits for our physical and mental health, and French sporting retailer Decathlon’s purpose is to ‘make the benefits of sport accessible for all’. The impact of [this] project was tangible; the Minister of Justice expanded the project to every prison in Belgium which was a major result. The project reached 15 million people and generated nearly one and a half million euros in earned media for Decathlon.’

Wells comments further on the project, “What Decathlon has done so beautifully is go into an area that very seldom has a light shone on it – this is a beautiful case in humanity. There are so many stereotypes and labels that exist in the world and it’s very hard for a prisoner to ever shake that badge, so how wonderful that just for a moment, these prisoners are considered as sports people.”

Stephenson adds, “For a brand to demonstrate its purpose, it’s tempting to do it in easy and obvious ways. But what this case demonstrates is that purpose isn’t a badge or even a statement of intent, but rather an obligation. Brands with purpose have a responsibility to land and leverage that purpose in the real world in credible, authentic, and tangible ways.”

‘Google Real Tone’

Also in episode one of Creativity Unwrapped, Stephenson and guests discuss ‘Google Real Tone’, another Grand Prix winner. To raise awareness of its 'Real Tone' camera technology (which more accurately captures skin tones), Google launched an ad during the Super Bowl, featuring recording artist Lizzo singing “If you love me, you love all of me.” The 60-second spot included testimonials from real-life Pixel 6 owners who were finally able to see the full richness of their skin tone in a photo.

About the campaign, Wells comments, “When advertising forces you to stop and see something you haven’t seen before, that is when we are doing our jobs well. There is still a question around showing up authentically for inclusivity as opposed to being tokenistic – there are examples of advertising where faces and races are wedged into an idea, purely to demonstrate that a brand is inclusive, but perhaps don’t necessarily have the substance or policies underneath to support.”

Stephenson concludes, “How we connect and engage with people around us, how we impact and protect our planet, and how we confront historical wrongs to make today and tomorrow a better society for everyone … are conversations that are increasingly front and centre. It’s no surprise then that brands taking on an NGO mentality to harness purpose, to authentically, credibly, and tangibly impact through action, find themselves rewarded for being part of that narrative.”

To hear more perspectives on why authenticity and responsibility go to the heart of purpose-thinking, and why brands don’t just have permission, but a responsibility to be purposeful, listen to the full episode of ‘Creativity Unwrapped’, available now on Spotify, Amazon, Apple Podcasts, and Audioboom.

To purchase a copy of PHD’s latest publication Shift | A Marketing Rethink, click here.

Sign up here to PHD’s newsletter to get the limited edition podcast directly to your inbox.

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