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'How the hell have we allowed this to happen?' Rory Sutherland on creative devaluation

Campaign 10 Jun 2021 10:02

Adland has “painted itself into a corner” because it has allowed creativity to be associated primarily with “verbal or visual artistry” rather than a tool to solve business problems, according to Rory Sutherland. 

In an interview for the Campaign podcast, Ogilvy’s vice-chair urges creative agencies to wake up and challenge clients' perceptions, often not helped by media agencies and tech firms, that they are just “a bunch of flaky bastards who wouldn’t know a spreadsheet if it mugged them”. 

He also believes adland needs to promote creativity more aggressively. He argues the industry should be a major rival to consultancy firms like McKinsey and Deloitte, offering creative problem-solving applied to a wide gamut of business problems. “It is shameful the extent to which the industry has allowed itself to get painted into an artistic corner, where you just colour in round the edges,” he says. 

Sutherland was speaking to Campaign ahead of Friday’s Nudgestock, Ogilvy’s ninth annual event covering behavioural science and creativity. This year’s line-up includes Nobel prize-winning economist Daniel Kahneman, Duke University professor Dan Ariely, actor, comedian and screenwriter John Cleese and comedian and mental health advocate Ruby Wax. 

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