Croisette kings on creativity: John Wren
A view from Campaign staff

Croisette kings on creativity: John Wren

Omnicom's CEO looks at the ingredient that still thwarts algorithms

As the great and the good of the advertising world descend on the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity, we ask the leaders of the big six holding companies what this means to them.

Long before the buzz phrase "think outside the box," an expert on creative thinking, Edward de Bono, said: "Creativity involves breaking out of established patterns in order to see things in a different way." To me, that sums up creativity well.

It is the ability to ask fresh questions, to see connections that haven’t been made before, to have ideas, to invent, to surprise. It can create value in everything we do, from designing research to interrogating analytics, from plotting the delivery of message to the development of the content itself — all with the goal of driving business results for our clients.

Fortunately for us, in our new, data-driven world, creativity still has a magical ability to hold and engage people. No one has come up with an algorithm for it yet. Award-winning creative campaigns capture an audience while giving them information, a demonstration or an experience that changes the way they think; the way they feel; and, most importantly, the way they behave.

However, creativity, or winning awards, has never been the endgame for us. It’s a means to an end — to contribute to our client’s bottom line. The good news is that exceptional creativity drives exceptional results for our clients. The empirical data is irrefutable. Creative advertising is more memorable, longer lasting, works with less media spending and builds a fan community faster. 

And that is why creativity matters as much as it does to Omnicom. Our agencies see it as a core asset that has to be acquired, built and maintained; an asset that can be leveraged. 

Our leadership makes it clear that it is important — not by writing it into a mission statement but by living it, day in, day out. 

It comes from the top, and that is why Omnicom agencies are the most creatively awarded companies in the world.

What’s the most creative thing you own?
We have not yet reached the point where "things" can be creative. Only people can.

This article first appeared on

Cannes Lions 2015 Coverage