Julian Schreiber
Sep 14, 2011

25 Years' Creativity: Julian Schreiber on the future of advertising

Julian Schreiber, creative director at Clemenger BBDO, ponders the future of advertising with the help of three colleagues.

Julian Schreiber on the future of advertising
Julian Schreiber on the future of advertising

So here I am, staring at my Mac, faced with the question “What is the future of the Advertising”.

Honestly, my initial thought is “Oh shit.”

But that soon passes, and I still find myself staring at the screen wondering where to start. Someone sings my name.

“Juuuuleeesss”

It’s Couz. And at this point, I feel I should describe my desk. Firstly, it’s not just my desk. It’s a table of what could be described as Danish wood, the length of three tall men, completely littered with all manner of paperwork and knickknacks, including a small model of Napoleon Dynamite that talks.

Apart from myself, this long table is occupied by James McGrath (Clemenger Chairman), Ant Keogh (ECD), Tom Martin (CD), Jim Ingram (CD) and Ben Couzens, or Couz, as he’s known to everyone (CD). We all sit together. It’s how we work.

At this exact moment however, only Tom, Jim, Couz and myself are sitting around it doing different things. The more senior figures are in meetings, it’s Monday night and it’s late. Largely inappropriate jokes are flying across the room, which I’m finding highly distracting as I try to ponder the future of the industry we’re in.

Without looking up from my screen I say, “Couz, what’s the future of advertising?”

Couz is a tall thin man-child who is rarely seen without a baseball cap, has long auburn sideburns and glasses. His passions outside of advertising lend towards 80s hair rock (think White Snake) and I’m pretty sure, as its late at night, he’s surfing some obscure YouTube video - so I’m not expecting a real answer. But he surprises me.

Couz: Well. It’s always going to be about having an idea isn’t it? I mean whatever happens, that’s always going to be the centre of it. I’m always hearing people talk about how it’s going to be about creating content, but even then you need an idea to make the content about.

That’s a pretty good answer, I think to myself. The idea always will be centre of things, new mediums will come, new ways of doing things will arise, but they’re all just new ways of expressing ideas. At that point, Jim decides to chime in.

Jim is your quintessential Aussie larrikin. He has blonde hair, drives a white panel van, enjoys a bet, will do anything for a dare and once again, I’m not expecting a serious answer.

Jim: Television.

Julian: That’s current advertising, not the future of advertising.

Jim: No, I mean future television. Interactive television. Y’know, whatever the future version of television is, that will be the future of ads too.

I hate to admit it but that answer’s pretty good too. People will never get tired of stories, entertainment and emotion, and all the things television and TV commercials can create. It doesn’t matter if your laptop or iPad or even a chip in your brain becomes the next place where you can watch content, there will always be a future for television.

Right now, television is almost beginning to enter a golden age- the internet and TV are already combining - and more and more people are not only watching TV when they can, but catching up on what they miss on their laptops the next day.

And now I turn to Tom.

From Tom I expect a more polished answer. Because Tom himself is more polished. He dresses neater than most. He wears a collar and suit jacket more often than not. He looks like a Swedish architect and I’ve watched him eat enough lunches to notice he never drops any food. The man is polished. Tom is currently right in the middle of art directing an ad involving a very sexy pair of legs in stockings. He doesn’t look up from his task and simply replies:

Tom: Adaptation.

Julian: Adaptation?

Tom: Yes, most people leave the industry because they get stuck. They fall in love with one time period of advertising when one medium is the hero and even in the five years we’ve been here at Clemenger, advertising has completely changed. You’ve got to be flexible enough to know when advertising has moved on, and not only know how to do all the current ways of doing things, but be prepared for the new ways of doing things. If social media is the thing, learn about social media, get fluent in it. And then when the next thing comes along, get fluent in that too.

Julian: If you had told me ten years ago to guess the type of work I’m making now, I would have no idea. And I honestly I have no idea what kind of work we’ll making ten years from now. It depends on what’s been invented.

Tom: Exactly. What do you think the future is?

And this time when asked, I actually do have an opinion.

Julian: I actually think it’s about finding new ways of being useful. Not just to the client, but to people. Find out what the real problem is in the market, the social tension that’s relevant, the core challenge that has to be answered and do whatever it takes to answer it. And who knows what form that will take but the idea should lead you to the execution. If you’re truly useful, people will always want to get involved. And usually if you go down that path, you end up with the unexpected.

Everyone around the table now looks at me with that look of, “Well if you wanted a serious opinion about the future of advertising, you should’ve said so.”

So there it is. From the mouths of four (including three admittedly slightly distracted) Creative Directors late on a Monday night - the future of advertising. It’s a powerful idea that involves future television, is highly adaptive and extremely useful. We think.

Julian Schreiber works at Clemenger BBDO Melbourne. Together with Tom Martin, he has been responsible for what he says are some of the most powerful, useful and extremely awarded work in Australia, including the new National Australia Bank ‘Break Up’ campaign.  

Source:
Campaign Asia

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