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Post superbowl 2007- is it time to re-think the creative department?

February 5, 2007

Yesterday’s Superbowl thrust the best in consumer talent against the best from the industry and in many cases it was pretty hard to tell the difference.

The consumer spots played the role of the support band at the gig, although they weren’t blessed with the giant production budgets, they did reasonably well.

It now looks like the creative department is under attack from average Joes and celebrities who also want to try their hand at playing creative gods.

Jay-Z has been lined up as the creative maestro for Cherry Coke. The ubiquitous mogul will re-design the brand’s packaging, craft and direct the new commercials, probably all before he’s finished breakfast.

So given the two-pronged attack, what’s the creative department to do?

Grey London’s Planning Director, John Lowery suggests the radical solution, the re-structuring of the agency to deal with the new opportunities.

Lowery identifies new creative resource pools:

User-Generated Advertising (that comes in two variants- invited and submitted)

Artist Generated Advertising(Advertising created by artists- he mentions Fay Wheldon’s writing for Bulgari)

Professionally Generated Advertising (product placement)

He even speculates that the traditional creative department could be jettisoned in favor of a strategy/production hybrid that can thrive in a position of genuine neutrality, connecting clients and briefs to the appropriate creative entity.

Post-Superbowl, it’s likely that agencies will be looking to re-assert their creative chops, but they will find that many clients have been smitten by the exploits of the brand pioneers of the first consumer generated Superbowl.

The followers will have been seduced by the lower costs of production and the opportunity for interaction and relationship building that consumer-generated offers.

As radical as consumer-generated advertising has been, the Superbowl, the last dinosaur of the golden media age (the museum of television advertising), is set up perfectly for it; lots of eyeballs, good for contests and there’s a well creative trodden formula for Superbowl spots that the amateur creative can follow.

The real problem is with the rest of the year, when the Superbowl isn’t on air, clients need the smarts of their agency’s creative department to help them to battle in the world, the real one.

Despite being threatened from consumers and celebrities, only the best agencies and their creative departments have the skill and capability to constantly push the limits of media and the creative idea, which is precisely what’s required to compete in this complex new world.

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