Real work. For real clients. Solving real problems. Impacting the real world. That’s real recognition.


Issue 50: Get Real

Amir Kassaei

Born in Iran. Grew up in Austria. Studied in France. Lived in Germany. Working globally. Chief Creative Officer DDB Worldwide

NYC, Shanghai, Berlin, Ibiza

The End of False Recognitions
There is something fundamentally wrong in ad land. Everybody knows it but nobody has been willing to fix it or really even talk about it. Until now. As of today, we’re more than just talking openly about it, we’re going to walk the talk. And hopefully recalibrate some of the most important values in our industry to show the way forward in terms of how this industry should think, act and create.

Our DDB agencies are among the most-awarded agencies in the history of advertising. We’ve won more Grand Prix at the Cannes Lions Festival of Creativity than any other network on the planet. Almost every DDB office around the world is among the most-awarded agency brands in their markets. And that is a huge problem. Because that is not what matters.

Too many of us in the industry have bought into the idea that winning awards is proof of creative effectiveness, so much so that we’re willing to sacrifice our integrity to get them. And in turn that has lessened the integrity of the awards themselves. So if we believe that we are a great creative or an amazing agency or a great network because we won such and such meaningless award in a sub sub sub category at an advertising award show where ad people award ad people’s irrelevant solutions for problems which often do not even exist, then we’d better think again.

If we believe that the proof of our real talent is that we came up with a funky case video for an idea that did not have anything to do with the real world and was not even created for a reason other than to please a jury at an award show, then we are not talented.

If we are coming up with social ideas which pretend to solve the world’s biggest problems or help disenfranchised people, but, in fact, are only being done to win an award, we are cynical and perhaps even criminal.

Our industry has lost focus about what really matters. All of us who are working in advertising and marketing communication have only one purpose: to use our creative talents and insights to build relevance and influence in today’s world that consequently create substantial results for the brands, products and services of our clients.

Keep Reading

Our Volkswagen campaign is the most recognized of the Creative Revolution ignited by Bill Bernbach. For over 60 years, that same wit and humility has continued to win the hearts of many, building strong relationships for the brand that have weathered controversy.

adam&eveDDB have produced phenomenal results each year for John Lewis through their heart-warming campaigns, so much so that the spots themselves  have become an anticipated part of the holiday season.

Today, everybody is talking ‘Creativity,’ and frankly, that’s got me worried. I fear lest we keep the good taste and lose the sell. I fear all the sins we may commit in the name of ‘Creativity.’ I fear that we may be entering an age of phonies.

Our past work for Budweiser helped build an icon brand that resonated across cultures, from good-natured humor and the beloved Clydesdales to adding “Whassup?!” to the vocabulary of languages around the world.

We helped Diesel Jeans differentiate themselves with thought-provoking, irreverent humor. The shocking imagery was built upon a deeper social concern or message that required people to become involved in the ad to decipher them, building an authentic relationship that continues today.

Our job is to sell our clients’ merchandise…not ourselves. Our job is to kill the cleverness that makes us shine instead of the product. Our job is to simplify, to tear away the unrelated, to pluck out the weeds that are smothering the product message.

Bill Bernbach

Merely to let your imagination run riot, to dream unrelated dreams, to indulge in graphic acrobatics and verbal gymnastics is NOT being creative. The creative person has harnessed his imagination. He has disciplined it so that every thought, every idea, every word he puts down, every line he draws, every light and shadow in every photograph he takes, makes more vivid, more believable, more persuasive the original theme or product advantage he has decided he must convey.

Bill Bernbach