The Creative Directors Forum has polarised industry opinion in the
past. By speaking out on subjects ranging from the mountain of
advertising awards schemes and those it would recognise, to payment for
student placements, the body has been accused of arrogant cliquiness and
elitism. 'Who do they think they are to speak out on our behalf?' is the
gist of the criticism.
However, it is inevitable that the senior figures within the larger
companies of any industry will get their voices heard. Advertising is
unusual in that a body so close to the heart of what the industry does
has been so quiet. The odd opinion from John Hegarty or Tim Delaney is
no substitute for a united voice.
As the recession bit, the impression spread that, on important
professional matters such as how to cut costs and the need to understand
the changed needs and greater pressures of their clients, creative
directors were somehow out of the loop of responsibility within the
management line-up. This, in turn, allowed a 'luvvie' impression to
An excellent example of what can be achieved when creative directors put
their minds to it is D&AD. That organisation's appalling elitism and
growing irrelevance used to be just another old chestnut. Everyone knew
of it, no-one did anything about it.
Thankfully, the D&AD of today now bears almost no resemblance to the
D&AD of the 80s.
Subjects such as the cost of filming, the appalling prices at the Cannes
Festival and the margins headhunters make are today's perennials.
Everyone moans about each topic in turn, there is a flurry of comment,
and then the subject goes away again - until next time. We're not saying
here that it is right or wrong, but the industry needs the Creative
Directors Forum not only to ask the questions but to follow them up and
do something about them - en masse.