Everyone doing everything is really a zero-sum game
A view from Claire Beale

Everyone doing everything is really a zero-sum game

Campaign’s sister title Marketing has just published a feature asking marketers about creativity. Turns out clients are calling time on the notion that creativity comes from people called creatives sitting in creative departments in creative agencies. Forget that. We’re all creative now.

So Nick Jones, the head of digital and CSR at Visa, says: "Creativity is not just for the pullover-wearing Shoreditch crowd. No disrespect. Others can develop creativity." Matt Barwell, the chief marketing officer at Britvic, echoes that: "The most commonly held misconception about creativity is that only a lucky few are capable of conceiving innovative ideas." Dominic Grounsell, the global head of digital marketing at Travelex, goes further: "The most pernicious myth we continually propagate is that creativity is limited to people who work in creative departments. This is often backed up by the supporting myth that creatives are somehow different to the rest of us and should be treated as such.

The world has moved on and it’s time we stopped thinking and acting like we’re in the era of Mad Men."

Just because standout creative thinking can come from a marketer and a media agency, doesn’t mean it will

Whatever your view, there’s no sign yet that inviting more people to make a creative contribution will result in better, more effective work. In fact, so far, there’s rather more evidence to suggest the opposite. Mind you, lots of work produced by creatives sitting in creative departments in creative agencies continues to be pretty mediocre too.

Of course standout creative thinking can come from a marketer, a media agency, a CRM specialist. But just because it can, doesn’t mean it will. And with more constituents believing they have a right to be creative, it’s more important than ever to be able to recognise a really powerful creative idea when you see one and feel empowered and confident enough to dismiss the rest.

Anyway, all of this leads me to an interesting development in the US, where Coca-Cola is reviewing a portion of its $400 million media planning and buying account and has invited Ogilvy & Mather to pitch against media shops, including its sister agency MediaCom, for a slug of the business.

If creativity is being democratised, then so too are plenty of other previously specialised tasks. Media agencies can do creative thinking and execution; and, increasingly, creative agencies reckon they can do media thinking. If you were in any doubt that there’s a brutal turf war going on, here’s your evidence.

Assuming quality is maintained, there are some exciting opportunities ahead. The question remains, however, whether the erosion of dedicated specialisms will improve anything other than the cost line.