A new documentary film about the ad industry premiered at Cannes Lions last week and told some brutal truths about the state of play.
"Kill Your Darlings" follows a young German creative, Anouk Jans, as she ponders her future in the advertising industry and travels the world interviewing industry names including marketing guru Scott Galloway, MakeLoveNotPorn's Cindy Gallop, Activision's Fernando Machado, WPP's Rob Reilly, Mischief's Greg Hahn, Uncommon's Nils Leonard, Quiet Storm's Trevor Robinson, Anselmo Ramos of Gut and Mo Said of Mojo Supermarket.
In her various meeting, Jans, a former Virtue Worldwide Media creative who has just been appointed to Spring Studios in Milan as creative director, hears some insights that aren't always palatable for someone making their way in the industry. For example, Galloway tells her that advertising will disappear and be replaced by Artificial Intelligence. Reilly admits that the "whole industry..is at breaking point" and the creative ecosystem needs to change. Gallop tells her that the industry will never change because "at the top...is a closed loop of white guys talking to white guys about other white guys."
However, she also uncovers some hope and inspiration for how things can change: Gallop for instance advises her to change things by starting her own agency, while Hahn and Said give insights into how their agency startups are changing and rebooting some of the established industry practices. Ramos meanwhile tells her to surround herself with people "who are not cynical about advertising."
The film, which can be seen in full here, was presented by Togetherr, a new platform for building creative teams and connecting them with brands and agencies that has been designed and built by Fiverr. It was produced by Drive Studios and directed by Adam and Christian Bonke.
“Togetherr’s purpose is to change the business of creativity—and the way clients, talent and agencies all interact,” said Amir Guy, general manager of Togetherr, in a statement. “Before diving into this head-on, we asked creatives, agency leaders, brand executives and more, what their challenges in the industry were. The journey that took us on, questioning everything we thought we knew, was so inspiring that we wanted to capture it in a piece of content that would tug at the industry’s heartstrings, while forcing them to question the future of advertising."
“What the team at Togetherr is building is groundbreaking and disruptive—and so when they came to me with the opportunity to work on this, I knew the film had to challenge the status quo,” added Per Pedersen, executive creative director of Kill Your Darlings and creative chairman of by The Network, who came up with the original idea. “This film is controversial and it might ruffle some feathers in the industry, but I hope that people take it for what it is—a film that is honest, that isn’t afraid to say things that others might not want to say, while at the same time, showing the utmost respect and love for our industry and what we, as creatives, do.”
“When I first started in this industry, I didn’t question anything—not the structures, not the hierarchies, or the working hours,” said Jans. “However, as the years passed, I saw the creatives around me suffer and become cynical about the industry, including myself. This film was a fantastic opportunity to get perspective from the brightest minds in the business. But what we realized after only the first few interviews changed everything: the advertising industry doesn’t need a new direction, it needs a restart. I learned that we need to rethink it from scratch, to find our way out of the vicious circle. And nobody can do it alone—we can only do it together.”