My World View begins at 38,000 feet in the air. I am en route from Sao Paulo to London. On the flight I watch the latest James Bond film, Skyfall. There’s a moment in the film that captures exactly what I have been feeling about our business lately.
It’s the scene where 007 and Q, Bond’s Quartermaster and technology guru, discuss his upcoming gadget needs for his current mission. It turns out the “latest thing from the Q branch” is a radio. A radio? Bond scoffs.
Q continues, dryly: “What did you expect, an exploding pen?”
And so begins the crystallisation of my current world view. The notion that technology and new platforms have hit a peak, signalling to we creators that it’s time to turn this plateau into a tableau. In other words, time to use the tech as tools and start building brand stories.
Sao Paulo, Brazil
It doesn’t get more worldly than this: The judging chamber of the International ANDY awards. A room filled with some of the most brilliant creative minds in advertising from places like KL, Mumbai, New York, Miami and London.
We begin our discussions with genuine genuflecting over Nike and
R/GA’s breakthrough FuelBand efforts. (Technology is alive and well for this conversation.) But after a steady diet of case study films touting all manner of whizz-bang technologies and a veritable app-a-palooza in the form of student work, our highlights and passionate conversations are about films. And more precisely stories. Pictures, words, emotions. Not a pixel in sight. Or sound.
Good news for brands like Axe, McDonalds and oh, wait, yes, Nike, too.
I go from rainy Sao Paulo to sunny London. (Hello, Irony.) London feels very much like LA weather-wise. (I take it as another sign that the world is going through a big shift.) I meet with a global client. The topic of our conversation? Apps? New platforms? Anything involving a chip or QR code? Hardly. The day’s topic is a global TV campaign and the need to tell clear, emotional stories.
Back at the London office, I chat with our creative chief of the UK group. He’s very excited about some new projects.
One involves a game-changing idea. The key piece of technology? A glass of water. Another is a new campaign that will lead with, wait for it… some brilliant press and poster ads. Oh, and the last bit of coolness? A play. An actual spectacle performed on a stage in front of an audience. Shakespeare: 1. Silicon Valley: 0.
I am now on stage at the 4As (The Association of American Advertising Agencies). The panel? Three creative directors (including me) here to present work they admire.
The first CD presents the brilliant ‘Glass Bottom Jet’ app for Delta. It truly transforms the way you fly. Amazing. Audience response? Golf clap.
Next up, I present the Help Remedies’ brand idea. Everything from the breakthrough packaging to the disarming and charming web experience to the Facebook app that helps you pinpoint the person who may very well have given you that bout of influenza you’re wrestling with. Finally, a healthcare brand that doesn’t make you sick! And the audience goes… mild.
Finally, the third CD, a South African now living in the American South, presents Wieden’s Southern Comfort film. In it, a portly 50-something hombre armed with nothing more than a speedo, some sunscreen and a tumbler filled with liqueur and ice strides effortlessly on a beach. Fuelled by the brilliant Odetta track Hit or Miss (Gotta Be Me), the audience is mesmerised. The hero finishes his jaunt and the camera zooms in on the drink. A cocktail flag is raised touting the brand’s point-of-view about being comfortable.
Whoops, hollers and applause ensue. The crowd loves it. A simple film. Pictures. A few crucial, but scant words. A wonderful track. All feeling. Logic and technology take a holiday. And wow, does it connect.
Finally home. I’m taxi-ing at the airport. Realising through all of this travel, I’ve missed SXSW, the recent launchpad of all new things technological. I’m scrolling through my Instagram feed with an eye towards what new apps and platforms I need to sink my teeth into, yet each picture I see looks more like Woodstock than South By. Band after band, party after party. Seems the most important technology people are celebrating is the electric guitar.
It brings me back to Skyfall. Arguably, it’s one of the best James Bond films since Sean Connery packed his first Berreta. What’s amazing about the film is the story. A simple “overcoming the monster” tale. Gadgetry takes a back seat. In fact, it’s lampooned, rather than lauded.
This film and my last two weeks of flying around the world and meeting with my fellow global creative citizens has really shaped the moment we are in right now. We love technology, but we are now no longer using it to do our jobs for us. We are not hiding behind it. We are not using it as a replacement for the most important thing: an emotional story.
Ooops. My smartphone just vibrated. I have a meeting about Vine and how it will transform the work we do on behalf of brands. Or not.
Rob Schwartz is global creative president at TBWA.
This piece first appeared in the March 29 edition of B&T Magazine in the 'World View' section.
Please login with linkedin to comment
Sustainable soap brand Single Use Ain’t Sexy has been greeted with a huge influx of support after raising over half a million dollars in funding via a crowdfunding campaign. The brand has launched itself into the ‘green economy’ by calling on the Australian public to financially back them and their mission to get Aussies to […]
Queer Artist Ryan James Caruthers has publically slammed software company Unfold after it asked to use the artist’s work for free as part of its Pride Month social media campaign. Caruthers took to Instagram to show screenshots of the conversation he had with Unfold after it asked the artist to share 12 of his images […]
After relaunching in September last year, TWOOBS has become a ‘kinda’ shoe brand by also focusing on making the world a ‘kinder’ place and creating more consumer-conscious shopping. The vegan shoe brand founded by sisters Jess and Stef Dadon changed its marketing approach last year and stopped using social media to push sales the old-fashioned […]
Highly experienced tourism marketer Kelly Ryan has been appointed to lead the marketing efforts at Visit Sunshine Coast (VSC). During the past 12 years, Ryan has supported Canberra’s tourism industry in senior marketing roles, including as director of strategy and insights as well as director of marketing at VisitCanberra. Most recently, Ryan has been working […]
GHO Sydney has developed a new educational platform for Family Planning NSW to help parents and carers of children with disabilities navigate the changes to their bodies, emotions and social interactions. The project, ‘Planet Puberty’, was made possible through funding from the federal government’s Department of Social Services, and was co-designed with people with disability […]
JCDecaux today announced conservation organisation, Bush Heritage Australia, as its major charity partner for 2021. The partnership is part of a series of ‘social impact’ initiatives the business is launching this year, under the banner of JCDecauxHEART. JCDecauxHEART focuses on three areas of social impact: health and mental health, environmental sustainability, and enriching urban communities. […]
Shameless Media’s Michelle Andrews and Zara McDonald’s latest podcast, The Books That Changed My Life, will launch exclusively on LiSTNR on Tuesday, 15 June. Throughout the series Michelle and Zara will talk with guests including Kevin Kwan, Laura Henshaw, Jock Zonfrillo, Susan Carland, Hamish Blake and Delta Goodrem about the books that have had a profound impact […]
In celebration of Pride Month, cult streetwear brand Champion has announced an Australia-and New Zealand-first Pride range, Champions of Pride, and ongoing partnership with the Queer Sporting Alliance. Championing a cause, celebrating community, and aiming to create real change, the capsule collection proudly heroes the Pride colours in a selection of signature Champion tees, iconic […]
Following the successful deployment of BankiFi’s technology platform at The Co-operative Bank in the UK, BankiFi has appointed Lloyd Parata to lead their expansion into the Australian Financial Services market. BankiFi’s technology platform ensures banks remain relevant by offering SMEs an innovative solution to operate their business, whilst avoiding common challenges like late payment. Parata, […]
Mars Wrigley 5 Gum has partnered with Twitch to launch Team CLUTCH, a team of Twitch streamers who will assemble on for three live squad streams tackling popular games like Fortnite while embodying the brand’s ethos of ‘life happens in 5’. This partnership builds on 5 Gum’s 2020 Twitch activation, and is set to create […]