Roth calls for creative revolution at CMDC

Mar. 31, 2009

In a keynote address to kick off the annual Canadian Media Directors’ Council Conference in Toronto this morning, Michael Roth, chairman and CEO of Interpublic Group, called for media and advertising agencies to embrace a “new creative revolution.”

Roth took the stage after opening remarks from conference co-chairs Sunni Boot, president and CEO of ZenithOptimedia, and Hugh Dow, chairman of Mediabrands Canada. The duo introduced the “2020 Vision” theme of the event—a look into the future of the media landscape.
Roth’s vision of the future included a heavy emphasis on creative thinking, a shift that he said was necessary for agencies to remain relevant to clients and consumers.

“Everyone’s talking about whether the Internet and all this fragmented media is going to demean the importance of creative, and I think, if anything, it’s the exact opposite,” said Roth, pointing out that strategically targeted, highly original creative is essential to reaching an increasingly sophisticated audience of consumers.

“This is the time when we have the most knowledgeable consumer base in the history of marketing. They have so many resources available to them, and if our message isn’t right on track and provides what they’re looking for, we won’t last more than a second.”
Roth also told the assembled audience of roughly 700 that agencies in all disciplines, from creative to public relations, must develop greater knowledge in digital media.
“Digital has to be at the centre of everything we do,” said Roth, arguing that clients demand this expertise not only from digital specialists, but from all of their agency partners.
To meet the challenges of a rapidly changing and increasingly digital media landscape, firms need to consider these factors when hiring new talent.
Talent was the focus of the day’s second presentation, an address from Katharin Dyer, chief talent and transformation officer for the Publicis-owned firm Vivaki.
Like Roth, Dyer highlighted the important role technology would play in future marketing projects and the need to hire employees whose skill sets included new media knowledge.
To reach a more demographically diverse consumer base, she added, agencies need to hire an equally diverse workforce and allow them to pursue creative ideas without fear of failure.
“People want to be pioneers. They want to be liberated to learn, test and fail in order to find winners for clients,” said Dyer. “We have to reward experimentation, which means we have to celebrate misfires along the way.”
Other speakers at the CMDC Conference include Javier San Juan, president and CEO of L’Oreal Canada, Derek Burleton, associate vice-president, director of economic analysis for TD Financial Group and Brendan Hodgson, vice-president, digital communications for Hill & Knowlton Canada.

source: Marketing Magazine