Editor's Letter, February 2008

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Assembling the Creativity 50 issue provokes a mind altering aggregation of commentary from our subjects on a fascinating array of creative topics, and only a fraction of that commentary can squeeze into the report. Dan Wieden's discussion of his agency's amazing year, for instance, couldn't be contained in one (or even five) of our report slots, so I'm including some of it here, along with further words of wisdom from some of the other Creativity 50 inductees.

Wieden on what's essential amid industry changes: "What we're trying to do is create a very provocative relationship between clients and their customers. There are a lot of ways to do that but if we do our job right we are able to change people's perceptions as well as create relationships and change behavior. And if we can't do that we're not worth the money you're spending on us."
On Coke and clients: "The secret we found with all clients is that the work that comes out is a direct reflection of the relationship between the people involved. We have just been in the catbird seat with the kinds of teams we've been working with over there at Coke. At the end of the day, if that chemistry is not working and there isn't trust and willingness to explore things the work becomes pedantic and predictable. We were blessed with working with people who had good instincts."
On the "not interactive enough" rap: (Global director, digital strategies) Renny Gleeson joined over a year ago and he's been overseeing the development of our interactive capabilities. We've been doing a hell of a lot of that for almost all our clients. I am at peace...well, I'm never actually at peace but I'm much more confident in this area. Reports of our demise are greatly exaggerated. I don't mind being underestimated; I like coming from that place."
On Nokia and the Helsinki/Portland factor: "That's a very exciting relationship. Nokia, just by the nature of the business and the times we're living in will broaden the agency's capabilities like mad. I went back to speak in Helsinki (Nokia HQ) and it's so interesting. Here are two companies that are doing fairly well in their respective industries; one in Portland, one in Helsinki. Both cities are almost the same size. There's something about coming from places that are not centrally located that gives us a distinction that we share."
On his proudest achievement this year: "There is a synergy between the offices that is spectacular now. We're using technology and flights and offsets to really work as a family on projects. You can see it in the Nokia pitch and work and in Coke. We are functioning at the top of our game now as a network."

Fallon, London creative director Juan Cabral, on "Gorilla" and what it says about advertising: "We were trying to go for the heart and not the head. The client understood that. But that doesn't say anything about rules in advertising. Quite the opposite." On creativity: "It's that moment where you can't lie to yourself... and you give one more step."

Mackenzie Cutler co-founder Gavin Cutler, on staying creatively inspired: "Stay fresh. Do what you love. Don't work all the time. I surf and backcountry ski as much as I can. I like to be unreachable. I don't like endlessly talking about work. I don't like talking on the phone at all. Drinking's good, too. I pretty much just want to have as many laughs as humanly possible."

Unilever global media chief Laura Klauberg, on working with agencies: "We agree on a tight brief but then we let go. We follow an internal process which ensures that media choices are considered at the beginning of creative development and not at the end. We listen. We encourage challenging dialogue and debate. That's how we always get to a better place. We allow the experts to be the experts. We like to dream the impossible, just like our partners. We run interference where necessary so our creative partners don't get bogged down in unproductive work and we give recognition where it's deserved."

R/GA chief creative officer Nick Law, on creativity: "There was a time where if you worked in advertising in a very stylized discipline, as a copywriter or art director, you had a specific aptitude that could deliver on anything your agency wanted to create. Now, creativity can be architecting a deep informational website. It could be a classic advertising object like a viral video or it could be an application where you go through the interface or it could be a path through an e-commerce experience or enabling a social network. All these things are different ways of thinking, but they're all creative."

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