Meribel Ad Festival: Integrated Cristal

People talk about integration as though it's something new. And yet many brands such as Nike have been doing it for some time.

Run London being a case in point. An idea in the form of an event, that embraces the media of television, press, posters, web, retail and product. It is now in its seventh year.

I think the more traditional agencies were slow to embrace the digital revolution. Many larger agencies have simply bought digital companies and bolted them on to their offerings, often keeping them in separate departments or even buildings. I sometimes question how much of an integrated proposition this really is.

For me, integrating digital thinking into the whole agency is key. In the past it has felt like two camps: the old school who think in film and 2D print, and the new school who have grown up in the web and 3D interaction. As we move forwards, this difference will no longer exist. The next generation of "ideas people" have grown up building websites and social networks. Technology allows us to do more with ideas and build deeper two-way relationships with consumers.

That said, it makes me laugh when people say the television commercial is dead. Great content, be it a sitcom, documentary or movie, will always find an audience. A great ad is no different.

This doesn't mean we should be resting on our laurels. Thinking of innovative ways of using film and how else you deliver interesting branded content, whatever form it takes, is a must. The web is the "kick up the arse" the ad industry needed.

But if I'm completely honest, I see the digital arena as simply another platform where ideas can exist. For me, true integration is where you have a media-neutral creative department who are encouraged to solve clients' problems in whatever way suits best.

I also believe that to get to even more integrated solutions, clients should consider bringing their agencies on board much earlier in the process. If you are invited in at product development stage, it could really benefit all communications.

But that begs the question: shouldn't a truly integrated agency of the future be dealing in all kinds of ideas with employees from various creative disciplines including product designers, architects, environmental designers, graphic/web designers, strategists, advertising creatives, television writers, musicians and journalists? - As a young child, Tony Davidson learnt his trade by sitting upside down on the settee and competing with his four siblings to "guess the commercial". In 1985, he joined BMP as a junior art director. The following year, he teamed up with Kim Papworth, who he has worked with for 19 of the past 22 years. In 1995, Davidson and Papworth joined Leagas Delaney and in 1997 they moved to BBH to work on Audi and Lynx, and created Levi's "Flat Eric", the soundtrack of which topped the charts in ten countries. Finally in September 2000, they decided it was time to run a place by themselves and set about building the then flagging ship of Wieden & Kennedy London. Seven years later, that ship is one of the most admired agencies in the world, having created projects such as Nike's Run London and the award-winning Honda "power of dreams".


Entry deadline 19 October 2007. Award ceremony 14 December 2007 in Meribel.