Traditional advertising is dead. There, I said it.
Whether you agree with that statement or not, it’s hard to deny the recent shift being made by traditional agencies towards this mythical beast known as “Digital”. Over the past couple of years I’ve witnessed a number of agencies attempt to make this shift. Some have been successful, some have not.
The problem I find, is that traditional agencies don’t tend to have the people/skills in place in order to pull off the digital campaigns they’re aiming for. In truth, the concept of “Digital” is Alien to most; generally leading to confusion and misconceptions about the possibilities and use-cases for certain technologies.
Enter the Creative Technologist. But first, what the f**k is a “Creative Technologist”?
The role of a Creative Technologist is one that has created much confusion in the industry as of late. I’d attribute it to the fact the role isn’t yet prevalent here in the UK. This has led to many different interpretations of what the role is and what it entails.
Allow me to give my take: To me, a Creative Technologist is the technical equivalent to an Art Director. An Art Director doesn’t just design, they look at a brief/concept from a much broader perspective, allowing them to make informed decisions on how a story should be told. Similarly, a Creative Technologist takes a concept and based on their experience with various technologies, makes decisions on which technology is best used and how it should be used effectively.
Why are Creative Technologists important? Let’s go back to my original statement for a second. Traditional agencies are stuck – creative teams aren’t aware of technical possibilities/contraints, technical teams don’t care much for the creative process. A Creative Technologist helps to bridge this gap. Being possessed with a creative mind and experienced in technology, they should be able to work between both teams helping determine feasibility of ideas and the best tools for the job.
Agencies in the US already actively employ Creative Technologists in order to solve this problem, but (outside of London) the role of a Creative Technologist is virtually non-existant here in the UK. Agencies over here should be looking to employ individuals skiled in both disciplines in order to push forwards and help realise their more digitally-focussed campaigns.
It’s not all sunshines and rainbows however. There is still some doubt as to the necessity of the role, as can be seen in a blog post by Igor Clark (of W+K) called “Why We’re Not Hiring Creative Technologists“. Igor does raise some great points, although I feel Igor’s view of a Creative Technologist doesn’t describe the role of a Technologist in its truest sense. I won’t go into too much detail, as Sermad Buni (of BBDO) has written a great response “Why We’re Hiring Creative Technologists“. Both articles are well worth a read and give more insights into the role and various thoughts/opinions on the matter.
That’s it from me. If you have anything to add, drop me a line in the comments.