Upfront 07

Editor's Note

By Published on .

Could it really be that the business is belatedly starting to look up? The mounting anecdotal evidence is that several of the country' s leading production companies and post houses are frantically busy. It's not entirely clear exactly why. It is not peak launch period for new campaigns, and there is not yet a concurrent upswing in the amount of media time and space being bought. And clients are not renowned for making spots just in case.

Of course, there is the World Cup. For the uninitiated among us, that's the little once-every-four-years soccer tournament, beginning May 31 in Japan and South Korea. Already, we have seen epics from Nike and Adidas. Expect many more over the next month as marketers capitalize on their sponsorships with new campaigns. Most of the World Cup work is from the sexier end of the market, certainly among production companies. What the World Cup has reconfirmed is how genuinely global - or at least trans-Atlantic - production has become. Nike, Adidas, Levi's and others are routinely bid between London, Los Angeles and New York.

It's just one reason why you will see more international coverage creeping into the pages of Creativity. This month we bring you three of the hottest new agencies around: Clemmow Hornby Inge; VCCP; and Campbell Doyle Dye, all part of a wave of London startups that feature star creative directors like former Cannes Grand Prix winner Charles Inge. The startups are noticeable - among other reasons - for the relatively more mature ages of some of the principals and the happy fact that they have each already won genuinely blue-chip clients that are looking for exciting creative work. If you haven't heard of them yet, you soon will, because clients like Mercedes, BT Cellnet and Tango will demand the kind of world-class work all the creatives involved have produced throughout their careers. We try to analyze just why London fosters such a pronounced startup culture, and to find out whether the founder principals have founding principles.

This month's magazine also brings you our first "America's Favorite Photographers" industry survey, which reveals your choice of the country's favorite advertising photographers (p. 33). Once again, the challenge is to identify exactly where many of the names, on a list headed by Nadav Kander, are from.

Creativity also profiles the man behind the long-awaited arrival in New York of The Mill, Europe's largest facilities house (p. 10). We ask founder Robin Shenfield: Why here? Why now?

On a sadder note, this past month one of America's advertising legends, Jay Chiat, died. Chiat was an uncompromising and brilliant character who established not just a great advertising agency but a new advertising culture. Some of the roots of his genius lay in his arrogance and restless disdain for the merely good. He became known as much for his architectural and workplace initiatives by the end of his career, and it is true not all of them succeeded. But, by God, he dared to be different, and he should be remembered as a genuine iconoclast. Steve Hayden, co-creator of the seminal Apple Macintosh "1984"spot, remembers Chiat (p. 4).

There's way more in this month's magazine than I have room for here, but a small reminder: we relaunch AdCritic.com soon. Go to www.adcritic.com or simply turn the page to find out more.

And, if - unlike this journalist - you have fathomed out just why things are suddenly busier, let us know.

Stefano Hatfield is editorial director of Ad Age Global and Creativity

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