LBB are currently in Las Vegas to attend the first ever LIA Creative Conversations forum, which runs alongside the judging sessions for the 2012 London International Awards. Young creative from around the world have been invited to this intimate conference which aims to connect them with industry pioneers they would not usually have access to. LBB will be reporting back from the event with daily round-ups.
Ralph Van Dijk
Ear Drum founder Ralph Van Dijk nobly stepped into the breach when scheduled speaker Mark Darcy of Facebook had to withdraw from the event. His talk on the power of radio was a surprising gem and most definitely got the room re-thinking their preconceptions. As a creative, radio leaves copy rather naked and vulnerable, without the embellishments and distractions of sumptuous visuals, so the result? Well it’s a medium that demands higher standards from its writers – though granted these high standards are not always met. However the crux of the talk was Van Dijk’s argument that while it may be trendy for adlanders to dismiss radio advertising, out in the real world it’s a medium that many people wake up with, drive to work with and relax with. In other words many people have a very intimate relationship with radio, and advertisers ignore that at their peril.
The CCO of Jung Von Matt/Fleet, Hamburg took to the stage with a creative call to arms. As she argued for the economic leverage of good creativity, Spengler-Ahrens also noted that the power of ideas can often be overlooked by clients. To the amusement of the watchful young creatives in the audience, she noted that at pitches and meetings with clients she often kicks off proceedings by observing a minute’s silence for all of the ideas that business has killed off. When examining the roots of good advertising Spengler-Ahrens noted that nothing interests people more than other people. It was a well-illustrated talk – not least with Spengler-Ahren’s scribbled stick-figure slides and examples of recent JVM work such as the Flyvertising stunt for Eichborn
and the ambitious Philharmonic Orchestra of Hamburg
Lunch was followed by rousing talk from media commentator and author Bob Garfield which inspired conversation and debate among the attendees. Garfield shared his thesis that advertising is going through an existential crisis, as we move from an era focussed on consumption to one which values relationships between people and brands. As transparency increases and people’s ability to share information grows, brands can no longer afford to merely pay lip service to ideals and social responsibility. Consequently, argues Garfield, advertising is no longer enough to solve a brand’s problem. In an era where trust and transparency are valued more highly than product quality, brands need to follow one simple golden rule: “don’t be a dick”.
The day’s formal education was rounded off by a series of intimate group sessions. The attending young creative were split into small groups of around ten and were given the opportunity to have far-reaching conversations with industry pioneers Neil French, Scott Elias and Jonathan Ker. LBB gate-crashed Scott Elias’ group. The Living Works CEO built on the issues raised by Garfield and offered an optimistic alternative model for brands. While advertising provides a superficial solution, Elias discussed the idea that to build strong brand trust and sustainable brands it is necessary to go deeper. It is not enough to say something is good, it has to be good. The session inspired some conversation and debate between the creative and Elias, and broached issues such as the ability (or inability) for junior creative to enact change, the shape of advertising in the future and the relevance of relevance.