Nils Leonard: 'Agencies are shit at trust'

Grey London's chairman called for a "drastic change" to empower teams

Nils Leonard.
Nils Leonard.

LONDON — Grey London Chairman and CCO Nils Leonard has called for agencies to be more trusting and believe in the people they hire.

As he presented his manifesto for creativity at Advertising Week Europe here Tuesday, he said: "Agencies are shit at trust. That’s why they have sign off, that’s why they pay people hundreds of thousands of pounds and they insist that they report to one person, which is usually the executive creative director."

Leonard called for a "drastic change" to this dynamic and said agencies must trust the people they employ.

Leonard was speaking during a session about the future of adland, chaired by Claire Beale, the global editor-in-chief at Campaign.

Tracy De Groose, chief executive at Dentsu Aegis Network, also spoke during the session, and said the industry needs a "future that is fair for everyone" by "not just recruiting similar-looking people".

She said adland needs to recognize that different people coming together will drive innovation and creativity.

Presenting a manifesto on planning, Andy Nairn, a co-founder of Lucky Generals, said the problem with the discipline is that planners "have started to overcomplicate stuff."

In a refverence to '70s TV show "The Six Million Dollar Man," he said adland should take note of the voiceover to be "faster, better, stronger".

Ringan Ledwidge, a director at Rattling Stick, encouraged the industry to value its craft and ideas more.

He said: "We are very lucky to be doing what we do and we need to value that. We need to enjoy the fight, it’s the best bit."

Robert Senior, the worldwide chief executive at Saatchi & Saatchi, said agencies should not forget their core value.

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