Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Google Creative Lab

I was fortunate enough to have breakfast this morning with the head of Googles 'Creative Lab' - Andy Brendt. It was a smallish affair with about 20 people at the table. Andy, is extremely credentialed and was last Co President of O&M New York, having risen through the ranks as a creative guru.

Interestingly, the attendees were primarily agency heads, rather than those with specifically digital backgrounds. And the discussions were not about Search, or even Google. At all.

Instead, the old debate of Creative vs Media, Mainstream vs Digital, and mostly separation vs integration rose its ugly head. It seems this is still an enormously topical subject in the States and Andy wanted to see if we suffer from this in Australia as well. Short answer. Yes.

What we could all agree on was that it doesn't matter who does what, as long as we work together to create brilliance for our clients and their brands.

Andy is fervently in favour of a one shop solution. I'm less inclined to think that it's a one size fits all arena. I believe we need our clients to lead the integration charge. And it has to start from inside out. If they are silo'd within their marketing teams, you can bet that's how they are briefing us (which often happens with digital).

From where I sit the bigger issue is Australian digital resource and ability. If we continue at the current pace, we could be 5 years away from groundbreaking fully integrated work. Why? 1/ We are expereincing a skills shortage and 2/ Right now, we are still governed by traditionalists at the top end of spectrum (particularly at the client end).

So how do we create an environment where we at SMV can move at a much faster pace than the market? First step I believe is more education. For our leaders, for our clients, and even our creative partners. We must be vigilant and I'm afraid, we need to start yesterday. So it's a good thing in some instances we did.

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