Three leaders in the creative side of the advertising industry imparted their wisdom at a panel on Tuesday — although one was constrained over just how forthcoming he could be.
The panel was part of a daylong event at the Museum of Modern Art in Manhattan, sponsored by the Association of Independent Commercial Producers. The event is to culminate on Tuesday evening with the 19th annual A.I.C.P. Show, where awards will be presented for advertising excellence.
The panel, part of the association’s Digital Discussion series, was moderated by Kevin Roddy, chief creative officer at the New York office of Bartle Bogle Hegarty.
He interviewed David Droga, creative chairman at Droga5; Bob Greenberg, chief executive and global chief creative officer at R/GA, part of the Interpublic Group of Companies; and Ty Montague, co-president and chief creative officer for the North American operations at JWT, part of WPP.
It was Mr. Montague who was circumspect in his remarks, because of his planned departure from JWT North America with a colleague, Rosemarie Ryan, the other co-president, to open their own agency.
“We’re thinking maybe mid-July we’ll pull the sheet off” the new agency, Mr. Montague said in one of the few moments he addressed his next steps.
“This will be very awkward,” he told Mr. Roddy at the start of their conversation, referring to the legal constraints he was under for the moment.
Asked why he was leaving JWT, Mr. Montague replied: “I’m sure this is some sign of mental illness. Any time I get too comfortable, I make a change.”
“It was just time to be scared again,” he added, and “try something entirely new.”
Asked where the ad industry was headed, Mr. Montague replied, “The thing that’s most exciting is I don’t think anyone knows the answer to that.”
Broadly, he said, there would be “more media platforms, more technologies, more products, more media,” and that would benefit those who can, to quote Dan Wieden of Wieden & Kennedy, “walk in dumb every day.”
“If you can walk in every morning” to your office “with an openness to change and learn,” Mr. Montague said, “I think the industry will be fine.”
Still, the changes will not be easy to cope with, he added, because “the advertising industry, frankly speaking, has been good at counting money but less good at making it.”
Mr. Droga listed Mr. Wieden among his major influences, along with Mr. Greenberg and a “desire to travel” that has brought him from his native Australia to work in advertising in Singapore, London and now New York.
Advertising is about 95 percent bad work and 5 percent brilliant work, Mr. Droga said, and is too often used to “sell stuff that’s” junk, using a word other than junk that cannot be printed here.
“I don’t want to sell stuff that’s” junk, he added.
Mr. Greenberg, asked about the effects of the new technologies, predicted that “there will be more advertising than ever, just as there is more music than ever, but it will be distinctly different.”
Ads that demonstrate products and services yet are still able to tell consumers interesting stories will gain popularity, Mr. Greenberg said, citing the success of the Apple iPhone commercials that show the device in action.
With “simplicity and a demonstration, it launched Mobile 2.0,” he added.
R/GA, which is focused on digital work, has hired 258 people since January, Mr. Greenberg said, and plans to open an office in Buenos Aires; it would be the fourth recent new office after Chicago, Singapore and São Paulo, Brazil...Media Decoder