Doing Away With Exploding Heads

Interactive campaigns grow up

In digital advertising, the creative and the tech guy should be friends. Or at least that's the goal at most interactive agencies. Whether it plays out that way in practice is a little more complicated, according to Ian Tait, global interactive executive creative director at Wieden + Kennedy.

Sometime between the 1990s and now, big traditional agencies lost their stride in the digital world. In recent years, they've come back around—in part, Tait said today at Advertising Week's IAB MIXX Conference, because they've come back to trusting creative people, casting creative people, and just relying on creative people more in general. The digital work done by W+K leans heavily on the traditional advertising values of storytelling in a way that some pure digital shops may not. His team is more likely to spend 80 percent of its time conceptualizing a campaign and 20 percent doing it, where pure digital shops may do the inverse.

Tait said the bonding of traditional creative and digital technology in advertising has been helped by the fact that the demands of a digital campaign seem to be maturing. The pressure to create something viral is now much lower than in years past. "People want to share things that say something about them, not just outrageous stuff," he said. "Otherwise, YouTube would be 90 percent made up of videos of people's heads exploding. We now have a much broader palette to play with in terms of the kinds of things people want to share."