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  • DON'T BE AFRAID TO WALK ON THE DARK SIDE OF CREATIVITY

    Mar 05, 2019

     

    Emanuele Viora

     

    Over the past decades of disruption, the creative industries have changed enormously, the lines have blurred between the traditional client/agency roles, and the value of creativity itself has come under scrutiny and experimentation. At a point when creativity is crucial at every touchpoint of running a business and growing a brand, the idea of 'choosing a side' has become almost an anomaly. But for Emanuele Viora, Executive Creative Director of Deloitte Digital and Graduate of our Cannes Creative Leaders Programme, it was a chance to delve into the world of consultancy - as he terms, 'the dark side of creativity'. But he now sees things a differently: Emanuele looks back over the increasing freedoms brought about by these blurred lines of client-agency dynamics and the exciting opportunities for consultancies to make a difference in this hyper-connected environment.

     

     

    This is definitively the most exciting time to be a creative in the advertising industry: Different agency models are competing and this means that everyone of us can find – or even try to create – the best model for them. I’ve been working for 15 years in international advertising networks. In these kind of companies, I know how much talent is packed, day and night, into the brainstorming room. At the same time, a lot of good creatives are now working elsewhere: independent retail, web-agencies, in-house agencies, production companies or super specialized creative boutiques sometimes able to create excellent work with a staff of less than 20. The outputs are so different that it is even difficult to agree on what “excellent work” should look like and what kind of projects should be awarded at the festivals. This sounds like freedom. One year ago, all this freedom attracted me to a place that a lot of people seem to consider the “dark side” of creativity: I became a consultant. Boom. 

    You know what I found? “Power, unlimited power.” My apologies, I’m in the middle of a Star Wars marathon with my nephew and sometimes I tend to exaggerate with metaphors. Since a couple of years ago, I’ve had one big question in mind: What is the role of a creative and what is the purpose of creativity in this everchanging advertising industry? For many years, I’ve been working to create ideas crafted to fill media space: no matter what the client’s problem was, the solution was content to be placed on TV, on billboards, on the net. Over the years some things have changed, but the purpose of the work in the majority of agencies was still mostly driven by this focus on the media space. 

    Now we are living through the disruption of traditional media habits. We are in the mobile-era and 5G will soon change everything again. Most people I know prefer Netflix – a platform with no advertising – to average primetime TV shows. Millions of people use ad-blocking tools to surf the net and the average attention that people give to branded messages on social networks is 1.8 seconds. Really, 1.8 seconds… It’s difficult to disagree with Mark Pritchard who stated last year at Cannes Lions that “this is not enough to do proper branding”! The point is that now, we all live digital lives in a hyper-connected environment. This new digital world forces companies to shift to new battlefields. New media consumption habits and the “disruption of marketing” require integrating the entire business to demonstrate value at each and every customer touch-point. Today, everything is branding. The store is branding. The recipe is branding. The e-shop and the delivery model, the first page of your Google search and the latest video on YouTube related to that search – the whole experience is “branding” and companies need creatives not only able “to fill a media space” but in actuality, to orchestrate “everything”. 

    In this context, the role of creatives – no matter where they work – is to take a step ahead. Because we are trained to do something that every company needs; generate ideas with the ability to change the status-quo. This is what we do and this should be our focus; to generate transformation. If this is our new ammunition, then to execute it and make it happen, we need an entire army of allies – from a business, tech and data perspective – because these are the best friends of a creative if you want to be right at the centre of every marketing strategy. To everyone who disagrees, let me respond as Darth would: I find your lack of faith disturbing.

     

    Emanuele Viora is a graduate of our Cannes Creative Leaders Programme. Find out more about this year's CCLP.

     


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