Susan Credle, U.S. Chief Creative Director at Leo Burnett, presses on the limits of the advertising business today

December 21, 2009 § Leave a comment

IAB’s Smartbrief picks-up on an interview over at Forbes.com with Susan Credle, the U.S. Chief Creative Officer of Leo Burnett. Ms. Credle, laments the presence of limited thinking inside the advertising business today. She means that literally in regards to behavior targeting (“Narrowly targeting audiences is limiting”, she says), but “limits” seems the crux of the matter when the whole of her interview is taken into account.

“Trying to make the right decision, we end up paralyzed and do nothing. Fear of failure means we don’t take risks, and taking a risk happens right before progress,” says Susan in the interview.

No risk taking. No progress. We get held back by fear.

We’ve heard that before. What industry doesn’t have its pundits and cautionaries urging bolder action? In our industry, agency creatives are especially good at that sort of thing. In our industry agency creatives have always been the genuine risk-takers. That’s the nature of our business: creative is where we propose to take our risks. Elsewhere, we try and wring risk out, which has become the plight of media planning. It must be risk free. That’s ironic, given the number of people that want to believe media is the new creative – which, of course, it can’t be if it is unwilling to take risks.

Susan Credle speaks to that in an interesting way in her Forbes.com interview. She says, “I also think we are confusing breakthrough technology with breakthrough ideas.” Interesting point. What has new technology done for advertising ideas? Has new technology led to new media ideas? Is media planning more inspired today?

Many days it seems not. Many days it seems a dreary forced march to actions and results: left foot, right foot, left foot, right foot, following the person in front through a narrow door at the end, one at a time.

It would be good if more of the industry’s creative leadership were to poke at the new media status quo. Perhaps it might help set parts of it free. Creatives are more naturally risk takers. Or, rather, they are more naturally defenders of risk taking, trained and willing to fall on their swords for ideas.

…Provided it isn’t all about what can be done with video. Please, enough about video. Everyone must agree to try something new.

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You are currently reading Susan Credle, U.S. Chief Creative Director at Leo Burnett, presses on the limits of the advertising business today at Burst Media Company Blog.

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