Hi. I'm Giles from agency digital dynamics. See that guy over there in the abnormally skinny jeans. We just hired him from NASA. He's our new technologist. He's going to launch your brand onto the Twitterverse by inventing a new piece of technology that seamlessly merges your conversations with your customers. This time next week, 'Richmond Sausages' will be on the lips of every blogger and sausage evangelist worldwide. Are you ready to take your brand to the next level?
Erm. No thanks Giles.
We've all been there and heard the technobabble. It was exciting for a while. We believed that things would change. We thought that this time it would be different. But we were wrong.
As an industry we've been searching for a recipe or a formula - if we have one person that understands each new piece of technology then we're going to create great work and people will love it. The proliferation of media has meant that there are no set recipes that guarantee results. In an age where media consumption is so splintered, people look to the latest technology to give us the answer.
This thinking has manifested in awards entries over the past couple of years, with agencies claiming 'a media first' as if that in itself is the idea. However, unless it engages people outside the agency's Facebook page, who cares?
Simply doing something first doesn't make it good.
Resisting the mindless courting of technology is a challenge. It's not that it shouldn't be used, it's just that it should only be used when it serves a genuine purpose. For the Fable 3: Kingmaker
smartphone game, for example, we had to build the technology as people quite simply couldn't plant real flags in London; the next best thing was virtual ones. It's important to create the technology to fit the idea - not the other way around. If you said to a client, 'I am thinking of putting your print ad on TV as a 30 second still,' they wouldn't be happy, yet 'I will put your brand on Twitter' is met with applause when it could be just as ludicrous.
With this in mind, agencies need to seek out people who have ideas across all disciplines. This is what our McCademy recruitment program tries to do. The six-week program is set up with challenges and talks that are designed to highlight this broader way of thinking. In their mock pitch, candidates are not asked to present a campaign but pitch us an idea, no parameters.
The industry needs people that proactively go to clients with ideas for their business rather than just reacting to their communication problems.Peter Bardell is a senior account director at McCann London.