“Chase the idea and forget the media schedule”.
That was the advice John Hunt, worldwide creative director, TBWA had for industry folks in the room. “The way we talk about our business has been reset by the global economic scenario,” he said, adding, “This is the best time to be a creative person because your playground is so much larger than before.”
He said the idea is redefining the medium. “Anything that affects your consumer is the medium,” he added, giving examples of work where the medium varied from an ATM machine (Absolut) to a cup of coffee (local coffee shop) to a jersey (Adidas) to a couch. (See below):
The no cellulite couch by Nivea
The big shift was in advertising evolving into something that people wanted to share.
He said the value of such ideas was that it generated so much more as earned media than paid media. The best example of this was for The Zimbabwean newspaper.
Hunt said that the change that was taking place among creatives today was that they started by looking at the business problem at hand and then evolving a solution for it, as opposed to worrying about whether they were going to use TV, print, radio, outdoor etc.
John Hunt's session at Spikes Asia 2009.
He also gave the example of Gatorade which adopted the cause of a long forgotten rivalry between two opposing teams in US football which Sports Illustrated had termed as the biggest rivalry in sports after they drew a tie in their 1993 football match. Gatorade took up the exercise of recreating that match by inviting all the members of each of the teams from back then and asking them to settle the score once and for all by holding a Grudge match. This was an activity built over the next three months where the training of each of the members was filmed and shared as an online documentary. The match generated enormous PR value and had film studios approaching them to adapt the match on the big screen as a movie script.