Ida Axling
Jun 24, 2022

Documentary questions future of agency model

CANNES LIONS: Kill Your Darlings follows creative director Anouk Jans as she questions whether the agency model is cracked and ponders her own future in the industry.

Anouk Jans became Germany's youngest creative director at the age of 26.
Anouk Jans became Germany's youngest creative director at the age of 26.

Kill Your Darlings, a documentary film about the world of modern advertising, has premiered at the Cannes Lions International Festival for Creativity. 

The film (trailer below) follows Anouk Jans, who at the age of 26 became the youngest creative director in Germany, as she questions whether the agency model is cracked and ponders her own future in the industry.

Jans travels the world interviewing industry veterans such as professor of marketing Scott Galloway, Cindy Gallop, chief executive officer of Make Love Not Porn, Rob Reilly, global chief creative officer at WPP, and more. 

The film touches on topics including whether there is a future for advertising – according to Galloway, there is not – and what needs to change for the traditionally male-dominant industry to become more diverse.

“When I first started in this industry, I didn’t question anything – not the structures, not the hierarchies, or the working hours,” Jans said.

“However, as the years passed, I saw the creatives around me suffer and become cynical about the industry, including myself. This film was a fantastic opportunity to get perspective from the brightest minds in the business. 

“But what we realised after only the first few interviews changed everything: the advertising industry doesn’t need new direction, it needs a restart. I learned that we need to rethink it from scratch, to find our way out the vicious circle. And nobody can do it alone – we can only do it together.”

At an event launching the film in Cannes, panellists discussed some of the issues explored in the documentary.

Karin Onsager-Birch, vice-president creative at Lyft, said: “What clients are looking for is fantastic passionate talent, but we're looking for it without all the barriers in the way, without all the systems without the processes. 

“We just want to know, where are you going? What are the insights? How can we be part of the process? How can you be inside with us, we're looking for a much, much, much tighter collaboration.”

Jessica Spence, president, brands at Beam Suntory, added that she sees opportunities going forward, because there are “fabulous, creative talents in the world”. 

She said: “The challenge for us is how do we find them? Because somebody said to me: 'Do you ever think the big agencies had a monopoly on talent?’ Probably no, honestly. 

“But it's definitely not true now. And I think what's really challenging for us is how do we locate them. And that's where I'm still hugely optimistic about the power of creativity.”

Both Onsager-Birch and Spence are also interviewed in the film.

The documentary is presented by Togetherr, a new platform for building creative teams and connecting them with leading global brands and agencies, produced by Drive Studios and directed by Adam and Christian Bonke.

Amir Guy, general manager of Togetherr, said: “Before diving into this head on, we asked creatives, agency leaders, brand executives and more, what their challenges in the industry were. 

“The journey that took us on, questioning everything we thought we knew, was so inspiring that we wanted to capture it in a piece of content that would tug at the industry’s heartstrings, while forcing them to question the future of advertising.”

Per Pedersen, executive creative director at Kill Your Darlings and creative chairman of by The Network, added: “What the team at Togetherr is building is groundbreaking and disruptive – and so when they came to me with the opportunity to work on this, I knew the film had to challenge the status quo.

“This film is controversial and it might ruffle some feathers in the industry, but I hope that people take it for what it is – a film that is honest, that isn’t afraid to say things that others might not want to say, while at the same time, showing the utmost respect and love for our industry and what we, as creatives, do.”



Campaign UK

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