Traditional Creative Directors Talk Interactive

SAN FRANCISCO Agency creative directors discussed how to integrate the Web into the traditional creative processes at a panel discussion moderated by Adweek senior creative editor Ellie Parpis during the Adweek 30th Creative Seminar here yesterday.

The three panelists talked about the difficulty of getting staffers engaged in interactive, explaining that the authorship of such campaigns can be fuzzy. Plus, it’s harder to win awards for the work, they said.

Ty Montague, co-creative director of Wieden + Kennedy in New York, joked that he got his staffers interested in the Internet “with a stick.” Montague, who has helped create Web-focused campaigns such as the “Beta-7” campaign for Sega’s ESPN NFL Football, said that there shouldn’t be a separate interactive division within the creative department. “We don’t have TV creatives and print creatives, why create a separate domain for Web people?” he asked.

All agreed the Web would become more important as devices, such as digital video recorders, increased consumers’ ability to avoid commercials.

“I’ve been hearing about the death of the 30-second TV spot since I got into the business,” said Eric Hirshberg, managing partner and executive creative director at Interpublic Group’s Deutsch/LA in Marina del Rey, Calif. “Nothing killed it, but TiVo will. Enjoy the last few swirls down the drain then figure out what to do next.”

Hirshberg noted that interactive ideas don’t necessarily have to start as Web ideas, citing Deutsch’s cliffhanger ads for Mitsubishi that drove viewers to the Web. “That wasn’t born in the interactive department, that was born in the general department,” he said. “Everyone needs to think about everyone.”

Paul Lavoie, chairman and CEO of Taxi in Toronto and New York, said that the industry should change the award show model. “The award system is an incredibly conservative environment that brings people down to what has been done,” he said. “Award shows done properly are about predicting future and about helping put a high water mark. But what it really is is a status club.”

The panel was sponsored by Microsoft’s MSN. The panelists’ agencies are working in partnership with MSN to develop an innovative campaign, with the Web as a crucial component. Taxi is devising an interactive campaign for the non-profit Covenant House, while Wieden and Deutsch are creating efforts for Sharp’s latest line of AQUOS LC-TVs and Revlon, respectively.

–Mae Anderson