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Spikes Asia 2010: And when Howard Draft, BBDO’s Andrew Robertson & JWT’s Bob Jeffrey speak

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Spikes Asia 2010: And when Howard Draft, BBDO’s Andrew Robertson & JWT’s Bob Jeffrey speak

Creativity has many forms of expressions and creative leaders find their own way of representing what goes behind good work. The first full day of Spikes Asia 2010 – September 20, 2010 – saw creative entrepreneur who started off with 12 people and is now Executive Chairman Draftfcb, Howard Draft, one of the youngest CEOs Andrew Robertson, CEO, BBDO Worldwide, and JWT Worldwide’s CEO Bob Jeffrey speak to the audience on what drives them, and the work at their agencies.

Howard Draft’s session focussed on creativity confident to be simple enough, a thought, he said, that belied the new positioning of the agency. To explain more on the simplicity of an idea and basic work on real insights, he showcased the work done on brands like Dockers Wear the Pant and Oreo Cookies. In a conversation with exchange4media later, Draft spoke on the significance of the India market and the benefits Draft enjoyed because of a successful partnership there. He said, “We are a young brand in India, this is a four-year old partnership, but we have been able to do some good work in India.”

The true entertainer of the day was BBDO Worldwide’s CEO Andrew Robertson, who’s witty and quick answers kept the audience hooked on through his session. Some of the points that he made varied from the culture at BBDO, where 10 points like Hand raisers not Finger pointers defined the kind of people BBDO wanted in their scheme of affairs. He stated that he found it frustrating when people said advertising lacked the lustre it once had as a professional option, and said, “I don’t know how many businesses are there that are able to provide the same kind of growth as this business, and that is got to be fun. If you want to spend your day surrounded by interesting, challenging and colourful people, where the results of your efforts are very obvious, very fast, then this is the business.”

Robertson shared two of his best experiences in the business so far, and one of them was being at a bar in England during a soccer beer when in a break, the Guinness surfer commercial was shown and people stopped to view that commercial before going about doing the things they usually did in commercial breaks – the first-hand consumer experience of the kind of impact that the work that the agency does was Robertson’s magical moment. He also spoke of his worst professional experience of shutting down the agency’s Detroit operations and informing 450 people of that decision of the agency.

When asked what would be different in the business 10 years from now, Robertson was candid enough to state, “I have no idea and I make no apology for that. I really believe in planning for things that you can see. I remember how we discussed MySpace in 2004 and there was no remote knowledge of a Facebook somewhere, and look what has happened today. What I do know is the value of great work, which attracts and holds the attention of the audience and gives an experience of change.”

He ended his conversation with the thought that the great skill today was the ability to lead and not to direct.

Bob Jeffrey’s message to the audience was clearly marked ‘medium doesn’t matter, content does’ and in that vein, he termed JWT as creators of content. He said, “I read a recent article that spoke of web is dead! That is provocative to say the least when all we hear around us is of the growth of the Internet. For us, it boils down to content. The world of today is more about the creation of content.”

According to Jeffrey, content was anything that people wanted to spend time with. And interactive content crosses platforms and can truly impact consumers. He spoke of markets like Japan and Indonesia that unprecedented dominance of technology leading to new questions on what is content and how it is created and consumed. Speaking more on “ideas that people want to spend time with in an age where content is king and time is the currency”, Jeffrey took the audience through some of the work that JWT has done on brands such as Kit Kat, The Times of India, Heineken and De Beers, amongst others.

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