David Droga: ‘We’ve moved from selling originality to selling processes’
The rise of digital has thrown the ad industry into a state of flux, and there is perhaps no place that is more keenly felt than in the agency creative department. For agency creatives, the new normal is a faster pace that is more about banner ads and pop-ups than longform ads masquerading as “films.”
For David Droga, creative chairman at independent agency Droga5, this has meant rejiggering the organization and processes of his agency to make sure it’s keeping up with client demands — while refusing to give in to doing advertising that’s just disruptive without being creative. He joined us on the Digiday Podcast this week to discuss that.
Some edited highlights:
There are a lot of Aussies in the business because they’re straightforward.
Droga is only one Australian among many in the business. Others include Sean Cummins, who recently moved stateside to start his own company in New York; and John Mescall, who left McCann Australia to come to the U.S. to become global ECD at McCann Erickson. One reason for their Stateside invasion, according to Droga, is that “Australians cut to the chase a lot, which in our industry is refreshing and there isn’t a lot of pomp and circumstance.”
Clients and agencies operate at markedly different speeds.
It’s pretty tough to be a client, and marketers are often frustrated with agency partners that don’t achieve the results they want. That’s one reason there has been a wave of marketers building up in-house agency capabilities. “It’s got to be pretty hard to be a client. A lot of the time you’re buying processes and it’s smoke and mirrors,” said Droga. One reason is how slow the agency world still moves: “No other industry works harder at being lazy than advertising. Clients want to get through the rhetoric and jazz hands and get to the thinking. And a lot of agencies aren’t set up to embrace the new world of the industry. They still make money by being traditional and moving slower.”
Agencies don’t know how to be creative.
It’s hard to find a creative pop-up ad. When asked, even Droga couldn’t think of one off the top of his head. For agencies, that has meant a race to innovate that uses the hot new platform just for the sake of it, said Droga. “Just because an option exists doesn’t mean you have to do it,” he said. And it’s more that the model itself, which rewards ads that disrupts the user experience, that is broken. “It’s so weird that we use this disruptive model. We have to think harder and better about what we do.”
The ad industry could learn a lot from entertainment.
Two years ago, Droga5 sold a 49 percent minority stake to Hollywood talent agency William Morris Endeavour, citing that there was a lot the two industries could learn from each other. “The entertainment industry definitely moves faster and is less strategic than us. They’re more fireworks and we’re more lighthouse,” said Droga. While the ad industry needs to worry more about the long-term view, there are things it could learn from entertainment about creativity and capturing people’s attention, he said.
Yes, advertising can save the world.
Droga5 has never shied away from politics: It did an ad for Obama’s re-election campaign, and teamed up with comedian Sarah Silverman in 2013 for a campaign to get people out to vote. Advertising can be brave, said Droga. “Everything is advertising. Not just selling soap. Candidates are out there selling message and personality and charisma. Advertising can get people to vote for the appropriate candidate — and we all know who she is. It’s not going to cure cancer, but maybe it can help someone trying to cure cancer,” he said.
Podcast produced and edited by: Tanya Dua
‘The world of either is behind us’: Marketers predict the future of events will be a hybrid of online, in-person
Hybrid events, combining in-person programming with an online experience, are likely to become the norm as the vaccine rollout and general return to life continues.
Member ExclusiveMarketing Briefing: With Cannes Lions once again virtual, the ‘networking and dealmaking is likely the biggest casualty’
The promise of another virtual event when many execs are Zoomed out and feel like it’s impossible to unplug from daily work for a virtual event has some questioning what attendance or networking will be like.
Cheat Sheet: Pinterest’s new rules hold creators accountable for posting brand-safe content
Pinterest's "Creator Code" mandatory content policy guidelines will keep its content creators in check, ensuring Story Pins adhere to the tone and brand-safe messaging Pinterest wants to market.
SponsoredDeep Dive: How AI steered The Ad Council’s campaigns during crisis
The past year transformed the way audiences respond to advertising. The pandemic, quarantine and social unrest radically altered consumers’ sensitivities, and real-time news cycles made every campaign message fraught with potential pitfalls. As NPR reported in 2020, organizations raced to keep up with the public’s changing perceptions of marketing and what resonated — or fell […]
This Gen Z agency ‘eliminates the learning curve’ to connect brands with its generation
CarsonDoyle is an agency built by Gen Zers and is pitching clients on working with them to authentically connect with their generation.
‘Seeing the shift’: As theaters open up, studios are starting to promote theatrical movie marketing again
Some agency execs, who work with major movie studios, are bullish about a return to theaters as well as a resurgence of marketing of the theatrical experience.