Cannes Lions 2005

Mark D'Arcy

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If media is, in fact, the new creative, Mark D'Arcy has a plum creative assignment. In 2004, the New Zealander and former Y&R/N.Y. creative director took the newly created position of chief creative officer at Time Warner's Global Marketing group. Brought in by Global Marketing president John Partilla-the pair worked together on Sony at Y&R-D'Arcy is charged with developing creative strategies and marketing programs for TW's clients. Instead of merely selling pre-packaged promotions and sponsorships-as media companies have traditionally done-D'Arcy works with clients to help them find innovative ways to get their message out via TW's media properties. We spoke to D'Arcy about the increasing role media strategy plays in creative marketing.

C What is your role at Time Warner?

MD Global Marketing works with Time Warner's biggest clients , and the way we reorganized the group was with ideas and creativity being central to what we do. My job is overseeing the quality of those ideas. We apply insight and what we believe are the world's best media assets against client's problems. People come to us with marketing challenges, or they come to us with great campaigns, and we invent things, we build things. We try to make cool things happen.

C How does your current role compare to agency life?

MD I think I work harder, because we're inventing what we're doing. I get to meet a lot of really smart clients. When you work at an agency, you're working with a dozen clients, say, whereas in this job, it's been fun to meet an awful lot of really smart clients that it would have taken a lifetime, working at a multitude of agencies, to meet.

C From your perspective, how is the business changing?

MD One of the great changes over the last six months is the number of agencies, particularly creative agencies, that are realizing that media is the new creative, for lack of a better cliche. Unless you're interested in how you're getting your messages out there, you're really only part of the value chain.

C How receptive are marketers now to creative media ideas?

MD Clients are desperately in need of creative thinking. Media fragmentation is the greatest thing that could ever happen to creativity. We're rapidly approaching a world where people have the ability to have advertising or not . The burden of doing horrible advertising used to be that you could just make people watch it. But increasingly good advertising is going to become a cost of entry to engaging people's emotions, and the market for doing work that transcends the ordinary is going to be in higher demand. You can't buy your way into people's hearts anymore.

C What does the future hold?

MD Media is going to become a lot more malleable to serve the story. Everyone's trying to tell their story, so the business is going to be dominated by master storytellers who cannot only use the power of film or photography or words, but also the way in which they connect that story to the people they need to connect it to. That's the future for creativity.

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