A view from the top
A view from Tony Wright

A view from the top

I began the week by reading in something august such as The New York Times that "busyness serves as a kind of existential reassurance, a hedge against emptiness and futility".

Any of us, sitting jetlagged and exhausted on a long trip home after a less-than-perfect meeting, must have pondered that idea. It was very much on my mind as I began to write these words. I am aware that they are supposed to be an ode to the extraordinary global busyness of the exciting global nomad in question. A hymn to our own self-importance [Not necessarily – Ed] – for how important must he/she be to be needed in Mumbai, Paris and Slough, all in one week?

Well, we do like to run the Lowe network in a hands-on way, meeting clients, debating about work and feeling the extraordinary changes in the global economy in the streets rather than in a hotel.

As I live in Madrid but have most of our global people in London and a whole new exciting agency partner, Lowe Campbell Ewald, based in New York, Detroit and Los Angeles, as well as working closely with Unilever around the world, I see my fair share of planes, of course.

These are lively times in our new North American hub, with a New York agency set to open in early 2014 and our first global work for Cadillac launching around Thanksgiving. This week, we are also involved in talks about staffing and the launch of our new Barcelona agency, also opening in the first quarter of 2014 – an extension of our Iberian network Lola.

But the travel isn’t the really exciting part. Perhaps it is the old planner in me, but I feel more and more as if we need to engage more deeply than ever before with ideas and genuinely new thinking, finding the space and time to connect with broader ideas rather than the constant and pointless adrenaline highs of being too busy ever to think things through.

At the moment, I am really interested in how brands interact with society as they go through radical and confusing change. So I was engaged last week in a round of calls and meetings to put the finishing touches to a new study called The And Generation we have developed, which looks at the conflicts and dreams of young adults in the emerging economies that are so key to the success of multinational clients. Read more at tinyurl.com/pkvkhb8.

As the inevitable and unstoppable trajectory of these economies becomes less predictable, what does it mean for those caught between tradition and modernity? Fascinating stuff.
And just as we were putting the finishing touches to this work, the storm of news came in around a piece of work for the jewellery brand Tanishq –tinyurl.com/pdmfuwr – developed by Lowe Lintas in India that takes on the taboo of second marriages in a way that is almost incomprehensible to those in the West but has India transfixed by its boldness.

When we talk about "bravery" in creative work, surely this is what it is really about, rather than the invention of a nonexistent problem to solve with a campaign seen only by the advertising community. So let’s try to find at least the headspace to think. We can hardly complain about the commoditisation of our business if the most we can offer is a lot of meetings attended, e-mails answered quickly via mobile devices – and total confusion about why we are doing it at all.

Tony Wright is the chairman at Lowe and Partners