There’s a lot of ambition in 2015’s first issue of Campaign. The essays that follow illustrate an industry (generally) full of confidence and momentum. James Murphy is predicting a return to a fuller service, Philippa Brown calls for more collaboration, Russell Ramsey reckons we’ve got our creative chutzpah back, Craig Mawdsley wants to democratise strategy, Richard Costa-D’sa sees more opportunities for digital agencies to lead a brand’s creative agenda, Tim Mellors thinks it’s time production companies revised their financial model, Mel Edwards says the consumer is in charge.
If only all these thoughtful, thought-provoking pieces added up to a neat blueprint for the future of the industry. Because the one thing pretty much everyone is agreed on is the imperative for change if the industry is to stay relevant and keep up with the pace in the wider business and tech worlds. But none of our writers really agree about what that change should look like; their perspective is generally dictated by their own type of business, discipline or skills. I agree with Murphy, though, that the future will favour agencies, and people, "that are capable of combining great brand thinking with clever, agile implementation".
The one thing pretty much everyone is agreed on is the imperative for change if the industry is to stay relevant
Anyway, all of this is useful, provoking and stimulating sport. But perhaps the most important essay here, if we’re looking for ways to future-proof our industry, is Lindsey Clay’s piece on women. It’s (unfortunately) appropriate and illustrative that we’ve kicked off the year with 16 essays on the future of advertising, only a quarter of which are written by women. I wish we had more female writers, but that’s sometimes how these things work when you don’t try really, really, really hard: you don’t start out trying to overcompensate, then things fall through, you take the quickest option (deadline whizzing past), you end up perpetuating the problem.
Clay makes the point beautifully but, rock bottom, we all need to try really, really, really hard to better reflect the female talent in our industry. It’s not something I’ve thought much about until fairly recently, it’s not something I’ve always felt particularly comfortable with pushing so firmly, and it’s certainly not something we’ve regularly challenged ourselves about over the years.
All that’s changing, not because of any pressure but because it’s what now feels absolutely appropriate and important. Also, yes, because it’s now easier to find more senior women to work with on our content.
So I wish we had more women in this issue; and we’ll probably stumble often on this mission as the year unfolds. But we are determined to try really, really, really hard to create a better platform for brilliant female talent. If we all do the same, we’ll face a surer future.