The Cannes Q&A: Peter Nicholson and Eric Hirshberg, Chief Creative Officers, Deutsch New York and Los Angeles

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Sometimes good guys do wear white: Hirshberg, left, and Nicholson
Sometimes good guys do wear white: Hirshberg, left, and Nicholson
What advice would you give young creatives this week?

PN: The most important thing to do when you're young is to go, especially in the early days, for the two hours and watch every piece of creative that's been submitted to this thing. It's the only time you get to see everything that's been done in the world. You kind of start formulating your own opinion on what's good and what's not. That's kind of like the best school they can go to. It's amazing to see what people are doing in all the different categories. Even down to toilet paper, OK, it isn't just Charmin and dancing bears. It's a good way to stay inspired.

EH: I guess I think the most important thing a young person can do is to stay skeptical. There's a lot of Kool Aid being dispensed. There's a lot of futurizing. I think that young people getting into the business now are the best tools the business has, because they're all digital natives, they all speak digital as a first language, and I think things that make sense to them intuitively are more likely to be the answers than things that seem to make sense to someone who's 50 years old. No one has the answer.

PN: In one of those workshops they talked about those under 20 are digital natives and the rest are immigrants, and if you don't work like an immigrant you'll fail. It's hard to look through the eyes of a young guy after doing it as long as we have; it'll be interesting to see if some young creative sat through the thing we just sat through and think it's already over.

EH: So watch the work and stay skeptical.

PN: And start your own agency now.

So what's on the Deutsch docket for 2007-08?

EH: We're in a great place. the changes that are happening in the New York office are necessary and positive, There's a rejuvenation and a focus on the future and brands that is fresh and new. Not to sit here and be stupid and make predictions in the press, but I think big things are coming in New York. LA's had a great new business run, but it's about making that work great; I feel like everywhere you look at Deutsch right now it's all beginnings. A brand in a whole new country in Tesco. In a great brand with Saturn. Everything's fresh right now; everything's got potential for us to create.

PN: New York's still got some change, but good change. We have all the tools now, we're not siloed. Coming up with new ways to work is the new venture. I just went out to LA, the energy, there's an excitement that's really cool, it's too bad we can't have everyone in New York go out there and get that contagious feel, that spark. If they saw what the Deutsch company is doing, they'd see it's putting the money where our mouth is. The Tesco work is the beginning of a really cool way of doing business.

EH: Tesco is an opportunity to affect branding by being involved form the first moment to the last, in every touchpoint, 200 packages, all the private label brands, we're helping design the stores, the name, the logo. Our client has a great saying--advertising is for marketers who don't have great products. In England they have a great business by constantly honing the product, getting it righter and righter. It's been a completely great journey for us, getting it righter and righter.

EH: Any agency that has an iconic personality like Donnie, there's always a transitional period where that chemical is removed from that recipe. There's a new generation of leaders keeping what's good about the Deutsch brand but refining for the future. that makes for an exciting time too.
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