Filtering by Tag: creativity

What Manchester United's approach to recruitment can teach the ad industry

Added on by Leon Jacobs.

Sir Alex Ferguson is leaving his job as Man United's manager after 27 years (and one piece of gum - some say). He is without a doubt one of the most successful coaches in the history of football. Thanks to his genius, Man United has transformed into a global brand.

How do you replace a rock like that? Do you hire someone with a track record? Lots of trophies? A media rockstar? José Mourinho?

Man United has placed its hopes on David Moyes, the 50-year old Everton manager. They signed a six year contract for his services.

Some analysis suggests that Moyes was favoured because he shares the same coaching philosophy as Sir Alex. They even hail from the same corner of Scotland.

Man United has a much lower transfer bill than most clubs their size. And Moyes is known too for doing very much with very little at Everton. So, there is every indication that he will continue to build on this tradition at Old Trafford.

In advertising, when big personalities leave successful agencies, how often are they replaced with the José Mourinhos of the creative industry?

I have almost never been asked any of the following crucial questions during interviews for creative directing jobs:

  • What is your approach to budget split in the creative department? Ratio of senior to junior creatives?
  • What do you think has made us successful and what skills do you possess to build on this?

Too often, creative directors are hired for what they have achieved in other agencies - where, let's face it - the conditions were perfect for genius to strike. Great work never happens in a vacuum. There are loads of people with different skill-sets who all pour their hearts into the project at the exact right time. The creative director, the person at the end of the line gets the recognition and gets poached by a struggling agency who wants some of that magic - never realising that every great CD is surrounded by great people (sometimes through his own doing, and mostly those will be good creative, but the best work relies on good suits and planners). Inevitably, those agencies end up disappointed, often the relationship sours and a chunk of faith in the power of creativity is taken from everyone.

Any agency who wants the wind of great ideas to drive it to greatness, need to look deeper than a pretty face.

They need to do what Man United just did.

If Dalton Caldwell is right, I want to be wrong

Added on by Leon Jacobs.

Dalton Caldwell has just painted a very dark and apocalyptic future for micro-blogging service Twitter.

He has taken one tweet by new Twitter board member Peter Chernin and extrapolated this future in the same way biblical scholars take one sentence from an ancient text and create libraries of dogma. Or the way paleontologists fashion a dinosaur from a tooth.

If Mr. Caldwell is right this would mean a depressing future for the Internet as a whole. The web has transitioned media from pure one-way broadcasting to the many, to enabling the many  having conversations in multiple directions. Mr. Caldwell argues that Twitter will become mainly a broadcast medium, catering for those users who tune in and receive feeds, instead of remaining the basic platform upon which multiple services can be built, limited only by the imaginations of our collective minds. Twitter would be about mainly about discovery, and undoubtedly discovery would be moderated by those who have the media dollars to invest.

Here is the really worrying part: Twitter has always been a metaphor for the web. Unlike Facebook which lets you create and share content in the way they like, Twitter is basic enough for you to make it what you want it to be. Perhaps a Lego analogy would be useful here. Facebook are those Lego sets with which only one toy can be made. Twitter is the bucket of basic building blocks with which anything is possible.

The difference between Facebook and Twitter explained with Lego

The difference between Facebook and Twitter explained with Lego

Mr Caldwell is suggesting that Twitter is now pivoting into a one way broadcasting medium. He is suggesting Twitter will soon be available only as the Death Star, or a fire station - to continue the Lego analogy.

If he is right, what would be the implications for the Web. Is the era of engagement over? Did we over-estimate people's need for creating content.

I hope not. I fundamentally believe in the everyman's ability to express the genius in him or herself. The unbound Web finally helps us find the ideas and concepts that could be hidden in even the remotest parts of the world, mashing them up with other ideas on the other side of the planet and letting them live. 

Perhaps Twitter is struggling to monetize itself. But I always thought they had immense potential in monetizing their search and data they generate.

If Twitter disappears in its current shape, let's hope it is replaced by something that still taps the human potential Twitter does now.