In­dus­try Talk

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Jean-paul Burge: We Need to En­sure the Cre­ative Prod­uct Works

Jean-paul Burge, chair­man and CEO of BBDO Asia and the pres­i­dent of the cre­ative ef­fec­tive­ness jury at the Dubai Lynx, on why work that changes con­sumer be­hav­iour and grows clients’ busi­nesses should be an agency’s pri­or­ity

“It is no un­der­state­ment to say that cre­ative ef­fec­tive­ness is the one award cat­e­gory that all agencies should want to win,” says Jean-paul Burge, chair­man and CEO of BBDO Asia and pres­i­dent of the

cre­ative ef­fec­tive­ness jury. “The work we will be judg­ing has proven its cre­ativ­ity, sub­jec­tively and our task is to un­equiv­o­cally demon­strate that one idea has worked for the client bet­ter than an­other. And we will be do­ing this for one of the most ex­cit­ing and in­no­va­tive re­gions, which has for some time been cre­at­ing bold and ex­cit­ing work that should be bet­ter recog­nised in­ter­na­tion­ally.”

Ef­fec­tive­ness in ad­ver­tis­ing is one of the in­dus­try’s big­gest points of con­tention. What is the value of an award if any given cam­paign has not proven to be ef­fec­tive? Should the beauty of an idea or con­cept trump its al­leged reach or suc­cess? Do agencies even take ef­fec­tive­ness se­ri­ously?

“Agencies are in­creas­ingly tak­ing ef­fec­tive­ness more se­ri­ously and I ex­pect that trend will con­tinue for a num­ber of rea­sons,” says Burge. “We must be more ac­count­able for growth; we need to en­sure the cre­ative prod­uct works and is mea­sured; we are see­ing more ef­fec­tive ways to mea­sure ef­fec­tive­ness; and we need

to con­sis­tently dif­fer­en­ti­ate our­selves from our com­pe­ti­tion based on work that works. As for cre­ative awards, they are and will re­main rel­e­vant as there is clear ev­i­dence of a con­nec­tion be­tween cre­ativ­ity and ef­fec­tive­ness lead­ing to growth.”

Work that cuts through the clut­ter, changes con­sumer be­hav­iour and leads to growth for clients’ busi­nesses is what agencies should be aim­ing for, as­serts Burge, who be­gan his ca­reer at JWT Lon­don in 1998 and joined BBDO in 2004.

At the Dubai Lynx in March judges will con­sider work that has been cre­atively awarded or short­listed by the time it reaches the cre­ative ef­fec­tive­ness jury. The work will then be judged on how it per­formed against set ob­jec­tives, the com­pet­i­tive and mar­ket con­text and the met­rics used.

“If you look at the most awarded work around the world, both for cre­ativ­ity and ef­fec­tive­ness, we see bet­ter in­te­grated work than ever be­fore, new tech­nol­ogy and a risk-lov­ing ap­proach to try­ing new things is pop­ping up more of­ten,” says Burge. “I see a lot of re­ally good craft across the board, and in­vest­ment of time and think­ing to make the work across all touch points bet­ter. With

all that, I also see that as in the past, it is great ideas that cut through. Ideas that are new, brave and have pur­pose and emo­tion at their core.”

How does Burge wish to see the in­dus­try de­velop in terms of its re­la­tion­ship with ef­fec­tive­ness?

“I think cre­ativ­ity and ef­fec­tive­ness are part of the same thing,” he replies. “They are the rea­son we ex­ist and we can’t have one with­out the other. In the fu­ture, I see them com­ing closer to­gether at award shows in a num­ber of ways, pri­mar­ily as they are not mu­tu­ally ex­clu­sive con­cepts and we need to as an in­dus­try aim for and de­liver on both.”

Cre­ative awards are and will re­main rel­e­vant as there is clear ev­i­dence of a con­nec­tion be­tween cre­ativ­ity and ef­fec­tive­ness lead­ing to growth.

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