Upfront 07

Editor's Note

By Published on .

How to put out an issue of Creativity in the wake of the events of the last month? There have been endless prognostications that hu-mor, irony, satire, action and adventure are all to some degree or another dead in the wake of September 11. "How can anyone care about advertising at a time like this?" is another frequent refrain.

We all understand where such thoughts come from. Because, in the immediate aftermath of September 11 nothing else could matter for a while. But, let's be clear, we will get on with our lives - albeit at a speed that depends on our degree of separation from the events of that black day.

On page 4 of this month's issue we assess what getting on with life actually means for brands and their advertising. In an excellent short essay on the subject, DDB/Chicago's chief strategic officer, Jim Crimmins, suggests the idea, "We in marketing often play the game, `If this brand were a person what kind of person would it be?' Now is the time to play that game for real. The brand should act like the person it wants to be." And that is the heart of the matter for brands and those that create and nurture them.

It is discussing work and the talent behind it that is Creativity's "getting on with it." One of the most admired of brands the past decade has been the Gap. Although recently one of the targets of the growing anti-globalization movement, the Gap did not put a marketing foot wrong for almost a decade, and inspired a host of imitators of its pared-down, celebratory style.

The talents that nurtured this ubiquitous brand through years of some of the most admired marketing in the world chose deliberately to stay relatively anonymous, hiding behind the description seen on a thousand Gap credits: "agency - in-house." This month we have successfully cajoled Lisa Prisco, the Gap creative director who was responsible for so much of that work, into giving us an interview. She is launching her own career as a director, and we can say almost without reservation that she is a face to watch.

A question that frequently faces ad agencies- "Does bigger mean better?" - is one that is currently being faced by the postproduction community, as it undergoes an industrywide series of consolidations in response to the ever-increasing cost of talent and equipment. One might think that it is actually a terrible time to be in post, given the advertising cutbacks we read and hear about almost every day of our lives, but a surprising number of those interviewed in this month's Special Report on postproduction claim to actually be doing very well.

The last word - as so often is the case in life - goes to New York. Before the World Trade Center tragedy, we interviewed Sal DeVito about the 10th anniversary of his agency. His spirit and his love for New York, expressed before it became a national pastime, give clear indication that yes, life will go on there, because people like DeVito will make it happen.

Stefano Hatfield is editorial director of Ad Age Global and Creativity

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