The Word ‘Digital’ Is The Worst Thing That’s Happened To The Industry: DDB’s Darren Spiller

The Word ‘Digital’ Is The Worst Thing That’s Happened To The Industry: DDB’s Darren Spiller

When the word ‘digital’ first starting blooming, it pounded its way through Adland and was the concept a plethora of agencies built their whole being on. However, Darren Spiller, chief creative officer at DDB Group, believes the word ‘digital’ is a terrible thing to have happened to the industry.

Emma Mackenzie
Posted by Emma Mackenzie

“The worst thing that’s happened to agencies in the last 10 years or 15 years was actually the word ‘digital’,” Spiller told B&T.

“Not because of what ‘digital’ brought,” he added. “It opened up the world of advertising, I thought it was the greatest thing since sliced bread.

“However, what it did is clients thought it was the new mecca and that’s all it was about. Strategy kind of started to go out the window. The influence that agencies could have over the Big Idea, the Big Idea almost lost its potency, which was insane!

To Spiller, the word ‘digital’ is just another way of doing advertising.

“Because all digital was was a different medium and a different behaviour in which to take that idea and set it in,” he said.

No one came up with a ‘TV agency’ or a ‘radio agency’ when that stuff came out.

However, it’s not all about bashing ‘digital’ and the numerous agencies that sprung up from its explosion. Spiller stressed there’s definitely still positives arising from it.

“Because of the situation that occurred, those guys were able to really explore the realms of digital, as were social agencies, which has made leaps and bounds compared to if it had just stayed in an agency. Because there were disciplines that were concentrating on only digital, the new territories and the grounds in which they played in were ten-fold compared to if it had have stayed in the agency.”

David Brown, managing director of DDB Group Melbourne said they had even dropped the word from the agency.

Talking about the restructure of the Melbourne DDB, Brown said describing the complete Group as a full-service specialist agency “is a bit of an oxymoron”, but the Group has a lot of specialist skills within each agency inside it. Moving to this full-service agency, Brown explained how they had made a lot of investment in many areas such as data science and technology, adding “one of the words we’ve dropped from the agency is ‘digital’.”

“Everything is that anyway,” added Spiller, “because you live like that day to day. But ‘tech’ was really important because it’s about new-ness, that’s about creating different stages and different ways of interacting with ideas.”