I have a very strong opinion going into things about what I want, but I don't think anyone can be so arrogant and old-fashioned to think that only their opinion matters. If you want to work with great people you bring them to the table because you value their opinion. Clearly at the end of the day we can make a decision whether we want to follow through on some of that stuff, but I'd certainly want to be in an environment where I feel like everyone is feeling like they can contribute. I want to collaborate—with all partners. I think all agencies in the future would like to have that. That's why I give Smuggler a lot of credit because they're willing to work like that. Of course it has to be appropriate for the business they're building. They're collaborating with a lot of people and they're dabbling in a lot of places, which I think is great.
Patrick Milling Smith, Smuggler EP/Co-founder on doing eBay's "Let Them Post" with CAA:
That wasn't about the directors. That was us as a production facility finding emerging talent or people who wanted to have a go at something. I suppose it doesn't do a huge amount for us—it doesn't make you money or take your roster forward—but there's something nice about having all the people who are usually helping to keep your machine going, whether it's a gaffer or craft service, and having them go around and do something creative. When the producer would walk into the office and you're amazed by his film, or one of the director's assistants did an amazing piece of animation, it just sparks an energy that helps make a creative environment. It's an interesting way of seeing who's got something to say or has a particular talent. Sometimes you can't equate the value of something in terms of reach, or money, but it does have value.
Brian Carmody, Smuggler Co-founder/EP, on the work:
Every year is the same. Every year we go and sit down and go, "God, we haven't done anything this year." Then, you actually look at the reel and it's not bad at all. As a growing company, you're going to do more work potentially, which means there will be more mediocre and more of the better. I don't think there are too many years where the work is exceptional across the board. For me, one of the standout spots would be Starburst. I didn't really understand Starburst at first, to be honest. I didn't. I was like, "Jesus Christ, this is loopy loop!" When I saw it on paper, I thought where does it live? Randy [Krallman's] sensibility was right up that alley.
Designer and fuseproject founder Yves Behar on "matching specs" versus cutting a new path (he's speaking about the computer industry but look closely and there are parallels to the brand creativity world):
I think there was and is in the computer industry a tremendous challenge to get things through which are out of the ordinary. Manufacturers and companies in that field don't define their goals for their projects based on originality or how to connect to their customer or how to create something that is ground breaking or game changing. They match the specs of whatever is there. Most computers today are 98 percent legacy. Manufacturers have to be pushed to work on something that is little legacy and a lot of new thinking—it is an industry that is essentially not very progressive on a creative level. None of these companies is design driven or human driven; they are specs driven.
R/GA founder Robert Greenberg and chief creative officer (North America) Nick Law, on the cultural impact of the agency's signage work:
Greenberg: I had two friends from Brussels. They came back [from sightseeing] and I asked them what they did. They went to Times Square. They hadn't been here for a few years and they said how it's really become much more interesting. They brought up not just the NASDAQ sign, but [the Avaya sign's content] jumping over the windows. They also remembered the name Avaya. We think of the future being that dynamic signage like this to movie theaters will all be networked and integrated, a little bit like Minority Report on steroids. It's a really big marketing vehicle that agencies need to understand and create for.
Law: You're creating for different behaviors and that's the important thing, whereas ten years ago we were all creating for one behavior—either someone's sitting back and reading or passively watching TV. In this case, you're creating something for someone that's walking through crowded Times Square. We're also creating stuff for mobile which could be something you check for 30 seconds before you get on an elevator or what you might sit in front of on a train for two hours. You're creating for different behaviors which means you approach every problem differently. The classic search for a metaphor and a punchline is not always appropriate.
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