Simon Clift, the president of marketing for Unilever home and personal care, talked about the need to be sensitive to different countries' cultural nuances. According to Clift, global creative treatments all to often end up as the lowest common denominator work. His advice was to source the strongest local creative talent and stay true to the flavour of the local consumer.
But Clift criticised agencies for often being too parochial in their make-up, not ecclectic enough in the people they hire and said that agencies were not progressive enough when it came to moving people around the world and exposing staff to other cultures. As a result agencies often have too limited a creative palette.
The Channel's Mandy Pooler and Rainey Kelly Campbell Roalfe/Y&R's Robert Campbell made an impassioned argument for reuniting creative and media.
Pooler and Campbell will discuss their manifesto in next week's issue of Campaign.
Jeremy Bullmore, a non-executive director of WPP, warned that creatives were too obsessed with creating beautiful ads and should immerse themselves in all aspects of the client's business if they want to be seen as true partners by client chiefs.
Debbie Klein, the head of planning at WCRS, looked at how the proportion of females has increased in agencies across the past decade in every department except creative, where it hovers around 20 per cent. The UK has the worst record of any major advertising country on the proportion of female creatives.
Carol Fisher, the former chief executive of COI Communications, challenged agencies to embrace a fundamental change in their structure in order to secure their future. Agencies must stop treating creatives as artists or, worse, overgrown schoolboys; they must recognise the value of older executives and look to other businesses when it comes to recruiting new blood. "Those that do so will reap their just rewards ... and will not just have to pray for the end of the recession," Fisher said.