Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Riding on the shoulders of a giant

It’s not often you get the chance to meet the worldwide CEO of any agency, but Marketing managed to do that and more when Jean-Marie Dru dropped into town recently.

Although the president and CEO of TBWA\Worldwide was exhausted from the previous evening’s revelry to celebrate TBWA’s 10th anniversary, his enthusiasm for the ad industry was so palpable and infectious that he all but awed Debbie and me with his insights – listening to him was literally, like going on an armchair adventure.

It’s hard to describe but listening to Jean-Marie and his vision on where advertising was going was like being taken on a ride with him, and seeing through his eyes a view of the industry from the top. With him, it’s not the nitty gritty daily grind stuff, but real forefront, cutting-edge thoughts on the industry, and what ‘experiments’ he’s conducting with other TBWA offices worldwide just to see what would result from it.

For instance, Jean-Marie is a firm believer in an advertising movement he terms ‘media arts’, where the science of allocating resources to the different media channels working together with the creative part (the big bright idea that works in tandem with the other secondary ideas for the different media) is increasingly becoming more important. While he didn’t go so far as to say the whole media planning and buying function should be brought back, he believes that a creative agency must, at the very least, have the top layer of media functionality in order to cope with the numerous consumer interactions today – apparently there’s been research done that’s counted at least a 1,000 touchpoints, which he says, explains the need for media planning capabilities merging with strategic planning. Jean-Marie also goes on to say that because media arts is about practices and taking the best from that, he has moved the team working on the Apple account team from his Los Angeles office across the street and jammed them all (creative, interactive, PR, account servicing) into the architecture office of his friend Frank Gehry, to see what would come out of having all sorts of people in a different creative environment – he terms this the Media Arts Lab, which is the forefront experiment for the agency. There’s a lot more he shared in the interview, but I don’t want to give it all away at this moment – you’ll just have to catch it in the mag’s Jan edition!

No comments: