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ADVERTISING INDUSTRY

Could the ‘Hollywood model’ be the solution to the creativity crunch?

By our News Team | 2021

Advertising agencies in many countries are struggling to attract the right creative staff. The solution may be to emulate the film business.

As has now become evident in many countries, the advertising industry is grappling with a talent issue – there isn’t enough of it to go around when it comes to creative skills.

But a leading international creative director believes the solution to the problem is just a hop, skip and a jump away. Indeed, Hollywood has known the solution all along.

In an interview with the ad industry news website Little Black Book (more commonly known as LBB), former Chief Creative Officer for Dentsu Asia-Pacific, Ted Lim, said the industry should forget about trying to fill permanent roles and instead operate in the same way that the Hollywood film industry does.

“Almost everyone – the writer, producer, director, cinematographer, editor, animator, special effects guy, musician, wardrobe designer, makeup artist, actor – works for himself. They get together when there’s a film to be made and disband when it’s [completed],” Lim explained.

Advertising industry

Photo by Cadeau Maestro from Pexels

“For years, experts in the film industry have worked together, then apart, and ultimately often together again; it’s the accepted model for working creatively, rather than having staff tied to the same companies.”

Not practical for sizeable accounts

He concedes that the Hollywood model isn’t practical for sizable accounts with considerable and consistent work that requires daily, sometimes hourly, attention from familiar faces with steady hands.

However, Lim points out that as clients move away from traditional agency retainers to project-based compensation, then perhaps the ‘Hollywood model’ is finally coming in vogue.

“Ad agencies have been outsourcing since the beginning of ad agencies. The typical network agency doesn’t usually have the in-house specialist services offered by film directors, editors, music composers, animators, or even web developers,” he tells LBB.

Perhaps it’s a two-way street: “It’s not uncommon for network agencies to work with independents. But will the network agencies, whose claim to fame is their creative product, work with independent strategists, creative directors, copywriters and art directors?” 

Lim adds: “The ad industry is not quite ready for it (the Hollywood model), but the pandemic has accelerated the movement in that direction.”

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