OPINION: Forum should follow up controversial questions

The Creative Directors Forum has polarised industry opinion in the past. By speaking out on subjects ranging from the mountain of advertising awards schemes and those it would recognise, to payment for student placements, the body has been accused of arrogant cliquiness and elitism. 'Who do they think they are to speak out on our behalf?' is the gist of the criticism.

The Creative Directors Forum has polarised industry opinion in the

past. By speaking out on subjects ranging from the mountain of

advertising awards schemes and those it would recognise, to payment for

student placements, the body has been accused of arrogant cliquiness and

elitism. 'Who do they think they are to speak out on our behalf?' is the

gist of the criticism.



However, it is inevitable that the senior figures within the larger

companies of any industry will get their voices heard. Advertising is

unusual in that a body so close to the heart of what the industry does

has been so quiet. The odd opinion from John Hegarty or Tim Delaney is

no substitute for a united voice.



As the recession bit, the impression spread that, on important

professional matters such as how to cut costs and the need to understand

the changed needs and greater pressures of their clients, creative

directors were somehow out of the loop of responsibility within the

management line-up. This, in turn, allowed a 'luvvie' impression to

persist.



An excellent example of what can be achieved when creative directors put

their minds to it is D&AD. That organisation's appalling elitism and

growing irrelevance used to be just another old chestnut. Everyone knew

of it, no-one did anything about it.



Thankfully, the D&AD of today now bears almost no resemblance to the

D&AD of the 80s.



Subjects such as the cost of filming, the appalling prices at the Cannes

Festival and the margins headhunters make are today's perennials.

Everyone moans about each topic in turn, there is a flurry of comment,

and then the subject goes away again - until next time. We're not saying

here that it is right or wrong, but the industry needs the Creative

Directors Forum not only to ask the questions but to follow them up and

do something about them - en masse.





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