I think the UK advertising industry is in a funny old place. Rather like the Premiership, it seems as if no one really wants to take the thing by the scruff of the neck and show us all how it’s done (actually, that might be a global thing; is an agency dominating in the US like CP&B did in recent years, or Cliff Freeman before them?). The giants are playing the game well below their great peaks of the past, leaving the also-rans looking better than they really are.
But will that change this year?
I have to say that I’m somewhat optimistic (I really can’t be fucked to be pessimistic. Of course, we could continue the run of underwhelming work for another year – that would make four in a row – but there’s not a lot of point in predicting that. Better to stick out the neck and risk falling flat on my face. Again.).
A trend seemed to take hold last year in which great US creatives began to leave their humongoshops and start up on their own (I think Vinny Warren may have started this exodus; he always seems to be having a great time; maybe that inspired the others): Eric Silver, Gerry Graf and Ty Montague all broke for the border and I expect to see some stellar stuff from their hotshops in the coming year.
But then the same thing started happening over here: Richard Flintham and Tony McTear, two creators of D&AD Gold-winning ads, both started up their own places after years inside Fallon and TBWA (two once-great agencies now going through somewhat dry spells). Will this result in a flood of great work? Let’s wait and see, but the sure thing is that something different is happening, and that’s the very least that’s needed to make a difference to the quality of the work.
If you add in Ed Morris taking on the CD-ship at the independent Rapier, then we could have the start of a creatively-led shift in the landscape that might just kick things up the arse.
Fingers crossed and all that.