Creative leader Lee Clow has been in the advertising business for more than 40 years. Clow is best known for co-creating – along with Steve Hayden – Apple Computer’s 1984 commercial which launched the Apple Macintosh and the “Think Different” slogan, considered a masterpiece in advertising.
In this interview held in the offices of TBWA/Media Arts Labs, Lee shares his broad views on advertising. He notes that the proliferation of new media has created a lot of confusion that can steer brands off track. In this day and age the separation of digital agencies and media companies can eventually lead to brand extinction. The media scene has gotten fractured, agencies are weak and there is a lack of industry knowledge and how brands are born.
Brand experience is rapidly becoming the new frontier for innovation and Lee believes that the future holds a different approach; a holistic approach. It’s not about digital vs traditional it’s about remembering the role agencies have to play. All things are media; all things are advertising as he reminds us.
Anyone who has spent a significant amount of time in the advertising industry in recent years is well aware of the struggle — old vs young, traditional vs. digital — the issue remains the same. Most clients are very conflicted about what media they should use, why and how because agencies are not as strong as they once were.
The disappointment in the industry is that clients know less than they ever have in terms of how brands should behave, but Mr. Clow a person who pioneered the discipline of media arts feels that ultimately once the industry realizes it was a mistake to have this separation they will come back together.
The year 2015 has been called the year of the feelgood ad. Campaigns over the past year have been stuffed full of cute animals, charming children and tear-jerking good deeds. Consumers are now savvier and don’t want advertisers to lie to them and more than ever they’d like their advertisers to be socially aware.
Since the economic crash of 2008, people don’t but into the straightforward capitalist commercial model and they are demanding something more. Millenials in particular want brands to focus on the bigger issues like climate change, social equality and animal rights.
A future where advertisers can sell products along with ideas they actually believe in is the next challenge for marketers and brands.
The Corporate social responsibility landscape is more critical today than ever before. It is no longer a question of whether consumers care about social impact. The 2015 Brand Footprint report published by Kantar World panel shows that brands with a social conscience grew in popularity. What’s more, 55% of global online consumers across 60 countries say they are willing to pay more for products and services provided by companies that are committed to positive social and environmental impact.
Even if marketers don’t play the bigger role in making these decisions that so widely impact various societies and social settings, they have an important part in the messaging and communication of it. Therefore, when discussing future plans it might be wise to think of new strategies to merge CSR and marketing that will contribute to the community and help the business.
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