It seems to be more than just a truce. It could mean that the war is over. At least that's what the contenders believed when they signed the armistice. It was in Palma de Mallorca at the end of last year when Club de Creativos (The Spanish Art Directors' Club) brought together 50 advertisers and 50 creative people.
After fighting for more than 25 years, after having won and lost so many battles, the two sides realised that they could not go on that way. They realised that they needed to stay together because while they were wasting time measuring their respective strengths, they were disregarding what was really important: the consumer.
Fifty advertisers from top Spanish brands and 50 creative directors from the biggest Spanish agencies got together in Palma to talk about communication and creativity. They were not supposed to talk about their relationship. There was an agenda with many big and worrying issues, and none of them included the relationship between advertisers and creative directors.
They were to talk but, above all, they were to find ways to solve problems. What kind of problems? Here are just a few examples: How do we advertise at this point in time with no money, no hope and no consumer listening? How do we manage the 2.0 revolution when we still don't exactly know what it all means? How do we attract talented and young people to advertising? How do we avoid nonsensical pitches? How do we recognise good ideas?
Before the meeting, Club de Creativos conducted some research in order to find out what the main worries are for the ad industry in Spain at this point in time. We identified 12 problems.
One hundred people having a debate is hard to accomplish, no matter how important the issue is, so we formed 12 groups and each one debated one issue. After the discussion, each group told the others what they had decided. The different groups agreed on many things: they asked for more confidence, more honesty, more openness and more generosity from the old towards the young.
The gathering was cordial and well-mannered. Everybody was amazed at the good atmosphere that came out of the meeting. There was not a single rebuke or complaint heard. But let's not be naive. The reason behind the armistice is not that advertisers and creative people fell in love with each other at Palma.
The reason is called need. They desperately need to stick together because the situation is so bad that they have to put aside their differences and work together as a single unit.
And since we are scraping the barrel to find good pieces of news to get us going in 2009, here is one. The time for recrimination is over, welcome to peace. That is good news, isn't it?
- Concha Wert is the general manager of The Spanish Art Directors' Club.