Clio Judges Debate Media Innovation, Creativity

MIAMI The state of creativity in advertising came under scrutiny during the last day of the 44th annual Clio Awards Festival today as Starcom MediaVest Group U.S development chief Nick Brien charged that media innovation had outpaced creativity, and TV and radio jury chair and DDB Chicago chief creative officer Bob Scarpelli emphasized the value of simplicity, surprise and smiles in good advertising.

Brien said while many creatives were stuck in an analog world, the digital universe, including interactive television that offers personalized entertainment, would leave them far behind. “There’s more innovation than creativity at the moment,” Brien said, “[and] that’s being driven by technology of the manufacturers, not the [advertising] industry.”

Brien predicted TV, rather than becoming less prevalent, would become more important to advertisers in the future, but 30-second commercials would become obsolete due to products like Tivo. Instead, he said long-form commercials and spots tailored specifically to targeted demographics would become more common.

Brien noted that innovative media categories in awards shows such as the Clios are an important step in recognizing original and new ideas in media. But most of this work, such as Crispin Porter & Bogusky’s campaign for the Mini, falls in the outdoor and billboard categories, not broadcast, he said.

“Creativity has not yet caught up with innovation in the visual world,” Brien said. “It’s caught in a box, and boxes become coffins very quickly.”

He also said that the gaming industry, which is growing rapidly, is one largely untapped resource for marketers.

Scarpelli said that “ideas” reigned supreme during the TV and radio judging this year. “It wasn’t about ‘That’s a cool technique,’ or ‘That’s not a cool technique, ‘ ” he said. “The question always for our jury was, ‘Is that a good idea? ‘ “

According to Scarpelli, all great ideas share “simplicity, surprise and a smile.” He showed examples of work from the shortlist, which embodied those traits. One was a spot for Parque de la Costa, an amusement park in Argentina, called “Screams” by Del Campo Nazca Saatchi & Saatchi in Buenos Aires.

The ad shows a roller coaster attendant while screams are heard in the background. It turns out the screams are coming from people in line, because they’re so excited to ride the coaster, not people actually on the ride. “It captured the experience in a simple, fresh way that we’d never seen before,” he said. “It made us smile.”

Scarpelli also praised his shop’s client, Anheuser-Busch, which claimed the Advertiser of the Year Award. “They consider advertising an ingredient in their product,” he said.

He also noted a campaign in keeping with Brien’s innovative media talk, for Bud Light by Downtown Partners DDB in Toronto. The work features a fictional Bud Light Institute that comes up with excuses for guys to hang out with their buddies. In addition to TV spots, the agency placed ads for a faux CEO for the institute and created a related album of spoof songs, which sold 40,000 copies.

The Clio Awards Festival ends tonight with the TV and radio awards ceremony and dinner.