The creative department is dead – long live the creative department.



The Future of Marketing, originally uploaded by Flo Heiss.

Funny isn’t it this thing called ideas. Where do they come from?
“They can come from anywhere” – Well, bollox to that. They can – but most of the time they don’t; but do they come out of a “department”?

Ty Montague drops and interesting bomb in this month’s Creative Review coverage of the Click conference in NY (November issue of CR, page 62): Can you “outsource the whole creative department”? Do agencies even need a creative department? Shall we fire our creative departments overnight? Is it possible to outsource all ideas generation to specialists in a particular field as campaigns become ever more complex and specialised and crazy?

In the same article Lars Bastholm is cited making a comparison to the film industry. They congregate specialists and crazy minds to create a film and then everyone crawls back into their little specialism holes. Freelance extreme (my words – not his).

I find this idea very, very interesting. We’ve been this discussing this at Dare a lot recently and the answer is probably a boring: yes and no.

You know, if your idea requires a pink flying elephant with a webcam ductaped to his trunk and an RFID chip clipped to his ears with his dung balls RSS fed into a widget you don’t necessarily have someone sitting around at your agency hat knows how to do this, but what you need is someone that a) can come up with this idea and b) someone that knows someone that knows someone that knows how to make this happen. A fixer.

So I think the real question is:

What is the right makeup of a creative department 2010+ ? A department that comes up with ideas for a digital world. Not just digital ideas. And that can make those ideas happen.

I put my hand up. I went round the conference circuit the last couple of years evangelising about how we do things oh so differently here at Dare. “No, we don’t have a creative department where everyone sits together.” I used to say, being all clever and out there. “We do things differently here.” “We are special.”

Well not really.

To be honest it is a nightmare trying to run a department of 50 people spread over 7 floors. So whilst a lot of “traditional” agencies it seems are opening their departments or declaring the death of it, we are doing the exact opposite. We are bringing everybody back together again; but with a twist. Did I mention that our tech department will be part of the creative department?

I think there is a great benefit to be had to have creatives, designers and techies sitting together sharing ideas and working together.

But hey, who knows if it will work. I’ll give it a shot. See you on stage in Cannes. Or not.



Digitelephant, originally uploaded by Flo Heiss.
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