Q&A: Howard Willmott, EVP/ECD, Publicis/New York

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C: Overall, what do you think the quality of work was from 2004 compared to previous years, or even to what you're starting to see this year?

Willmott: It's getting harder every year, but the last few years we have all been living in a very different world, and that's definitely affected how cautious agencies, clients and consumers have been.

C: What was your creative highlight of 2004?

Willmott: Personally for us at Publicis/New York the TBS work was a tremendous breakthrough in '04. It was extremely funny work that proved equally successful for the client. The work picked up a Lion at Cannes and it has just won an Effie.

C: Could you describe your experience on this? What factors do you think contributed to the success of the campaign?

Willmott: A great client, great casting, a superb director, magnificent production, faultless editing on top of the tight scripts and a tremendous drive from everyone involved to never drop their standards ensured that the spots were spot on.

C: What, outside of your own work, did you believe to be some of 2004's creative landmarks?

Willmott: We were extremely impressed with the work on Honda done out of London that built on the amazing "Cog" spot. That they have managed to improve the work from such a good start and sustain their tone of voice and start to really build equity for the brand with it is outstanding.

C: Did you observe any interesting or disturbing trends in advertising last year? If so, what?

Willmott: I think everyone has seen enough of the "everybody doing the same thing in one city" type spots that were really over when they did "Tag."

C: Any positive trends?

Willmott: The positive trend is that everyone is still searching for the Holy Grail, so that means it's still out there for someone to grab and run with.

C: Overall, what do you believe was the biggest obstacle to creating great advertising last year?

Willmott: The biggest obstacle to creating great advertising is always yourself.

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