After meeting with Aussie creative agencies over the last few days, Facebook Creative Shop’s global creative director, Andrew Keller, kindly took some time out to go one-on-one with B&T, and here’s the result.
Firstly, what does your role as Facebook’s global creative director entail?
The main thing my role is focused on is partnering with creative agencies, publishers and clients to do great work on Facebook – to help make sure they’ve got the tools, the resources and partnership they need to do the best work that they can on Facebook, Instagram and Messenger.
Having joined Facebook in 2016 from a creative agency, how much is your move reflective of what’s happening in the industry?
I think the trend would be that more people value creativity. You’re seeing all sorts of folks saying, ‘We need to have more creative people involved in what we do’, and I think that’s a good thing. What attracted me to the role was the ability to work with creative agencies, and it’s healthy to have some folks that have worked at creative agencies working at Facebook.
How do you rate Facebook’s relationships with creative agencies?
I wish I could say it’s a home run, but really we’re just getting started. We’ve been engaged with creative agencies for a while, but more on a project-by-project basis, and now we’re trying to have one-to-one relationships with agencies where we help them even when there aren’t projects happening. I think we’ve got a way to go, but the relationships that Facebook does have are very positive.
What are Aussie creative agencies are doing well, and what can they be doing better?
I love coming to this region because there are so many great ideas. There’s already great work happening on Facebook and Instagram by Aussie agencies that has been recognised by the Facebook Awards such as #comeonin by DDB and ‘Hungerithm’ by Clemenger Melbourne BBDO. What I’m seeing a lot from agencies here is the ability to take ideas and then see what assets fit those ideas, versus asset or format first, which I’m really excited about. That’s what I’ve been talking to Aussie agencies about – thinking how ideas can flow across the Facebook platform.
There’s a disconnect that’s happening around mobile in terms of, ‘Is it on the brief? Is it not on the brief?’, ‘Is it clear? Is it not clear?’, ‘Do the assets come out of a larger production or are we putting money into that production specifically?’. So, I think they’re the sorts of questions that agencies are posing as we transition to mobile in a very real way, but I don’t necessarily think there’s an issue around them not getting it.
What are your thoughts on the current trend in Australia of independent creative agencies being snapped up by consulting firms?
It really comes down to sustaining a creative culture, and independent agencies would say they have an advantage in doing that. What’s going to happen as agencies become part of consulting groups is anybody’s guess. It could get very exciting, particularly around holding companies providing data that allows agencies to evolve their level of creativity, but we’ll just have to wait and see.
What are some of the trends your seeing around creativity?
The things I look for are values like connecting with a community, challenging convention, driving personal value. Great work has got to be incredibly meaningful, useful and valuable, and it’s got to connect in a powerful way, and I think we see that happening.
What I’d like to see more of is people looking for ways to do that and leveraging short mobile video. I think short mobile video is the biggest opportunity that’s facing us as an industry right now. We didn’t invent TV advertising, we didn’t get to invent print advertising, but we are inventing what this sort of six-second thing looks like, and that’s something I’d love to see – the application of that creative thinking put into that form as well.
Does data and technology stifle creativity?
I don’t think so. Data is just information about either how consumers behave and culture, and someone has got to translate that into insights. The way I see people using data most is iterating work through this cycle of making and learning. I think data will lead us to bolder and braver work as we’re able to understand what’s resonating and what’s not resonating – it should free us from people saying, ‘That’s not going to work.’
What’s the creative focus for Facebook going forward?
We’re going to be focused on two areas. One is short mobile video, and the other is having an agile working process through iteration – it’s not just about the work we’re going to make, but how we’re going to make it work. That means we can test and learn as we go, we can build prototypes instead of storyboards and scripts, and we can collaborate with agencies and clients through things like hackathons, which we’ve already been benefitting from.