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Time for true radicals

Time for true radicals



We all know we're living in a period of massive, accelerating change. Yet how we think, how we work and what we produce as an advertising industry has changed remarkably little. This talk at the ICA ...

We all know we're living in a period of massive, accelerating change. Yet how we think, how we work and what we produce as an advertising industry has changed remarkably little. This talk at the ICA in Toronto is a (hopefully practical) call for the industry to reclaim its progressive, and truly radical, roots.



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  • Full Name Full Name Comment goes here.
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  • very useful...
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  • Jeremy Bullmore once told me that they gave away the idea for Mr Kipling to the client. Who then made them pitch for the advertising.

    It's great to see agencies start to make things for themselves, like Mother and inventioni.st
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  • Finally, someone in advertising admits that the industry has had its head in the sand. Thanks, Gareth.
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  • The evolution and refining of thinking small - thanks!
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  • Gareth-

    Very nice compilation of some old and new thinking! Can you please provide a synopsis of the voice over on slides 86-89? I would love to hear some examples or ideas on how agencies can perform 'Communcations R&D' and 'build a culture of experimentation.'
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    Time for true radicals Time for true radicals Presentation Transcript

    • A Time For True RadicalsGareth KayChief Strategy Officer, Associate PartnerGoodby, Silverstein and Partners, San Francisco
    • Why radical?
    • Professional Radicals
    • radical (adj.)thoroughgoing or extreme, especially asregards change from accepted or traditionalforms: a radical change in the policy of acompany.favoring drastic political, economic, orsocial reforms: radical ideas; radical andanarchistic ideologues. Source: Merriam-Webster
    • radical (adj.)of or going to the root or origin;fundamental: a radical difference Source: Merriam-Webster
    • Let us be in no doubt,it’s time to be radical
    • What we’re doing isn’t working “In most cateogries, a brand’s market share is stationary” Brands in 4 out of 5 categories seen as increasingly homogenous Less than 1 in 10 ads seen as different 3 x $ spent on price cutting compared to brand building in CPGSource: Andrew Ehrenberg; Copernicus Consulting; McKinsey
    • We’re less valued by clients 1 out of 4 clients don’t believe what we do boosts corporate profitability 3 out of 5 clients think we don’t offer good value for money 2 out of 5 think we don’t work well in a team 1 in 10 think we are doing a good job in evolving our services for the digital ageSource: IPA/ISBA; CMO Council 2010
    • We’re finding it hard to find and retain the best talent Not just low starting salaries but ‘low degree of difficulty’ Spend less on training and development per person than Starbucks spend on their baristas Less than 1 in 2 employees believe their agency is committed to continuous developmentSource: AAAA
    • Yet, our response seems to be this
    • 6 (hopefully helpful) thoughtsTODAY
    • “Being realistic isthe most commonly traveled road to mediocrity.” - Will Smith
    • 1Let’s think aboutwhat we can create,not just what ourmuscle memorytells us to make
    • “Here’s the TV ad,now what’s the problem?”
    • “The task of any imaginative agency, any creative company, is to understand and serve its client’s business problem. Too often, our business has sliced and diced its tasks in the style of a sub- prime mortgage bundler. A corporate task set by the chief executive, reframed as a comms task by the marketing director, refined by the brand consultancy and reduced by the ad agency to thestuff advertising can do: grow awareness, nurture engagement. Too many links, too indirect and weak a connection between commercial possibilities and creative resolution.” - Laurence Green, Founding Partner of 101
    • “The further backwardyou can look, the farther forward you can see.” - Winston Churchill
    • Let’s stop defining ourself by output and start defining ourself by outcome
    • Let’s be rewardedfor good behavior
    • hack (n.) the most ingenious and effective solution to a problemSource: Merriam-Webster
    • 2 Stop thinking our work exists in a vacuum
    • Why is our referencealmost exclusively other ads?
    • The reality is what wemake exists in culture
    • “Creative firms of all kinds(including ours) know thatthey must evolve at LEAST as fast as the world is changing around them” - Tom Kelley, IDEO
    • While culture has changedmassively in the last 60 years,we’ve been massively dumb
    • Digital ideas orideas for a digital world?
    • “Advertising can’t have a future if it continues living in the past.” - Steve Henry
    • Effective ideas demand we create our own culture of continual re-invention
    • 3 No more narcissism
    • We are narcissists.
    • We create fake ‘movements’ forthings people don’t care about
    • “Often our biggest mistakeis believing that, in general, customers care a lot about your brand. They do not. ” - Patrick Barwise
    • “Nobody reads advertising. People read what they want to read and sometimes it’s an ad.” - Howard Luck Gossage
    • We need to understand what people are interestedin and work back from there
    • Build bridges
    • “We’ve moved from adownloading culture toan uploading culture.” - Charles Vallance
    • We need to get better at designing for gaps
    • Put people at the heart of everything we do
    • 4Get out ofthe messagingbusiness
    • Ideas that do
    • Stop communicating aproduct and start makingcommunication products
    • 5 Break the tyranny of big
    • The bigger, the better
    • The biggest ideas disappear
    • "Square is elegant. The users flowthrough payment or application has beenreduced to the fewest possible steps; theapp has minimal features. He espouses atremendously attractive belief that goodindustrial design wins customers trust bydisappearing."
    • What if we thought smallerabout the things we make?
    • What if we stitched smaller ideas togther to create a long idea?
    • Google Books Blogspot Youtube Google Google Google Scholar 411 Search Google Docs Organize the world’s information Google and make it Shopping universally accessible and Google useful. labs Chrome Browser Google Maps Google.org Google sketch Fossil fuel ChallengeSource: John Grant, ‘The Brand Innovation Manifesto’
    • “Like any company we require aprofit to stay in business. But it is not the reason we are in business. Thething that has not changed from day one is the desire to make people think about the world we live in. This is, and always will be, why we are in business.” Dave Hieatt
    • Photo:  Andrew  Hovells  (aka  Northern  Planner)
    • Photo:  Andrew  Hovells  (aka  Northern  Planner)
    • Think small
    • 6 Let’s start learning again
    • ‘From suck to non-suck’ Pixar
    • Eradicate the pointless quest for perfection
    • “The show doesn’t go onbecause it’s ready; it goes on because it’s 11.30” Lorne Michaels
    • Minimum viable product
    • Source: Albion London
    • Source: Albion London
    • Communications R&D
    • 70/20/10
    • Build a culture ofexperimentation
    • “If you don’t like change, you’re going to like irrelevance even less” - Gen. Eric Shinseki
    • Thank you for listening@garethkgplus.to/garethk