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‘Advertising Isn’t Much Fun Anymore’: Industry Seeks Creative Answers At Ad Federation Panel Discussion By Scott Hum

CHICAGO – Reflecting the sting of local agencies’ dismal showing in the Kelly Awards, One Show a

Moderator Ralph Rydholm, chairman-ceo-chief creative officer at Tatham Euro RSCG, opened the program with the opinion that advertising isn’t as much fun as it used to be.
‘Where is the comedy? Where are the emotional stories?’ Rydholm asked. ‘And where is the original music? If I hear one more song from the ’60s, ’70s, ’80s or ’90s adapted for advertising, I’m going to scream. Where are the ideas, the selling ideas? I see plenty of attitude, plenty of production, but not many ideas.’
That lack of ideas may help explain why Coca-Cola would turn to CAA for some fresh ideas, Rydholm said. But he added that Chicago in particular seems to have run low on exciting advertising.
‘Why are the winning ads free-lance work?’ he asked, echoing a common gripe here about this year’s Addy Award winners. ‘Does anybody do campaigns anymore? What’s happening to the big agencies?’
If Rydholm was looking for upbeat answers, he didn’t get them from Phil Gant, BBDO Chicago executive vp-chief creative officer. Advertising mirrors life, Gant said, and many people’s lives are boring. ‘People are tired and worried. Things that used to get a chuckle don’t make it through anymore.
Advertising people themselves may be too boring, too ‘inbred,’ he said, spending too much time with each other and not enough time growing as individuals.
‘You say better work’s being done in Europe? Well, those guys take the whole summer off! They meet new people. They do fresh and interesting things,’ Gant said.
Nina DiSesa, executive vp-executive creative director at J. Walter Thompson/Chicago, did strive for some optimism, suggesting there’s more boring advertising being done, because there is so much more advertising volume in total.
Bob Scarpelli, DDB Needham Chicago executive vp-executive creative director, rallied to the defense of Chicago advertising, saying ‘There is work out there I wish we had done, and work we’ve done I’m proud we did.’
What’s hurting advertising, Scarpelli, said is an economy that has client and agency executives ‘motivated by fear for their jobs.’
Copyright Adweek L.P. (1993)