DDB global creative chief Amir Kassaei: Stop categorising ideas by discipline

Amir KassaeiThe global creative chief of ad agency DDB criticised the way advertising awards shows recognise the industry’s best work today.

Speaking at the Spikes Asia advertising festival, Amir Kassaei, the global chief creative officer of DDB Worldwide, said that the industry needed to stop pigeonholing ideas by communications discipline.

“Stop categorising ideas,” he said. “It’s not about a traditional, digital, direct or experiential, but the most innovative marketing solution.”

“If we refocus on the main purpose of the industry we’ll have a future,” he said, referring to the need for agencies to prove themselves in the “art of salesmanship.”

The pressure for agencies to prove this to their clients is getting bigger, he added.

In a varied talk, Kassaei also spoke out against the value of Omnicom media cousins OMD and PHD, saying that the role of media agencies in generating awareness means little without relevance.

“If you’re not relevant, even the biggest budget in the planet will not do anything for you,” he said.

“Awareness doesn’t mean anything. But if you can build a filter and make an idea meaningful and relevant people will care,” he said, adding that agencies now had a “curation and filtering” function.

Kassaei’s comments come four months after he gave a presentation at Mumbrella360 in Sydney, after which he offered a balanced perspective on scam, the practice of creating work purely to win awards.

He said he was not against scam, as long as the majority of an agency’s output is genuine. “It is our responsibility to look for ideas that might not be realistic at the moment. But the majority of the work should be solving real problems with genuine ideas,” he said.

He added: “If a car company is amazing only at producing prototypes, they will not be taken seriously. I’m not an enemy of prototyping, but you have to get the balance right.”

The results for Spikes Asia are to be announced tomorrow evening.


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