Big, bold, and bionic: The future of commerical creativity

Last week, heads turned again in Adland, as Unilever marketer Keith Weed became the latest industry name to threaten Google and Facebook with an advertising boycott.

Joining others including P&G’s Marc Pritchard, and two colleagues of my own (The&Partnership’s Johnny Hornby and the IPA’s Paul Bainsfair), Weed called on the Silicon Valley giants to step up after last year’s many digital controversies – or face losing out on the £428bn marketers will spend on advertising globally in 2018.

Advertising, like countless industries, is undergoing immense changes: changes vaster, and far faster, than many of us can keep up with, hence the famous slowdown across advertising’s major holding companies last year.

But, like it or not, we all know the digital landscape is here to stay – and its influence will only continue to grow. Which is why it’s so worth marketers, advertisers and tech platforms alike investing in, nurturing, and protecting its future vitality.

The digital revolution, often heralded to be as seismic as its industrial equivalent, has indeed been transformative – for the creative industries as much as any other.

Media planning and buying is now done by robots. Increasingly, even the creative process starts with tech-led data – as per the pan-European model we are pioneering at The&Partnership for clients like Toyota and Lexus, where each major creative idea begins with smart, data-driven, multi-market audience insights.

When smart tech and data are harnessed correctly to drive not just a brand’s media strategy (ensuring bullseye targeting), but the creative itself, the potential to create a highly effective campaign – captivating not just consumers, but likewise impressing in the boardroom – significantly increases.

Read more: CHI&Partners boss Sarah Golding talks taking up the IPA presidency

But, as the IPA’s centenary president, my “Magic & the Machines” agenda – aiming to pave the way for the next 100 years of advertising – is about more than just smart data, programmatic targeting, and monitoring the digital landscape. It’s about bionic creativity, too. About humans and machines working together to unlock new creative and production formats and transform creativity itself.

With AI promising to boost global GDP by $15.7 trillion by 2030, I believe the creative industries can and will be central to that growth. And I want my own agency to be at the vanguard: pioneering a new, highly effective approach to creative innovation. Which is why, last month, we rebranded our beloved 16-year-old creative agency, CHI&Partners: an agency founded when telly and print still reigned.

Our new name, The&Partnership London, reflects our position at the creative centre of The&Partnership’s global network, whose innovative, in-sourced model (building bespoke, data-powered agencies inside clients’ offices) last year saw revenues double to £460m. And our new mission, to bring together creativity, technology and data in new, exciting and effective ways, will be pivotal to our future success.

Because the future of commercial creativity is big, bold and bionic.

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