Faaez Samadi
May 29, 2017

Consultancy environment can kill creativity: FCB CEO

With more consultancies muscling in on the advertising industry, agencies need to make their creative more prominent than ever, says FCB CEO Carter Murray.

Carter Murray
Carter Murray

Consultancies do not have the right understanding of “creative culture” to become top players in the advertising world, according to FCB worldwide CEO Carter Murray.

Speaking to Campaign Asia-Pacific in Singapore, Murray said consultancies acquiring creative shops were a hot-button issue for advertising agencies, but that success requires more than just a takeover.

“The consultancy world is so different from the advertising world, like the media world is different,” he said. “The challenge becomes being able to be best-in-class in what you do, and I don’t think consultancies understand creative culture, which gets you to creative ideas that can be a huge advantage for clients.

“I think they’re much more tool and process-driven. It’s a lot drier, and I think that can kill creativity.”

Murray readily admitted that data, technology and tools are vital for the industry, but added that a lot of the processes “are very linear”, and clients can “bring them in-house at a certain point”.

“But it’s coming with that creative spark that truly resonates with people and taps into a deep human insight, and brings it to life. That is really hard to just put in a jar and take in-house,” he said.

Agencies are “selling themselves short” when they don’t talk up their creativity to clients and put it at the centre of their business, Murray said. Instead, the pressure on agencies can be to “pander to the lowest common denominator” creatively, which he said “creates mediocrity and kills our business”.

“We’re in the creative business, and the creative product is what you live and die by,” he said. “That creative magic is something people will need for eternity, if it’s managed and used in the right way.”

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