A Creative Perspective - Dan Wieden from @WiedenKennedy

​Dan Wieden
Co-Founder & CEO
Evolution is a really funny thing because usually the things that evolve do not end up killing the other species that they evolve form. You go back to that old analogy television being the campfire at night or something that everybody gathers around. Actually what you’ve got is interactive campfire now. In the early days of Nike we were all drinking the kool-aid. This was a mission from God. They allowed us to do some really outrageous things. And television was so perfect for that because you could say something in 30 seconds or 60 seconds that people go „what!?” or they’d laugh or they cry or whatever. I think if they had tried to go on dialog right away I’m not sure if that has worked quite as well. Now that interactive relationship is critically important.
People that bemoan the death of the 30 second television commercial probably need to just kinda watch the returns.
An interesting thing happened when we picked up Levis a couple of years ago. Problem was that Levis had lost their voice. Because we were able to do couple of startling television commercials that positioned the heart and soul of this brand again it started a new conversation. And for us not to have made a big broadcast and just waited for the dialog to happen, I think we probably would not have been a successful.  Give you look at the Chrysler spot we did last year that dramatically helped the positioning of that brand and that company and giving a sense of what they valued and what Detroit stands for. And you could not have done that online and got that kind of an audience.
What this business is about is not about selling stuff. This business is about creating strong, provocative relationships between good companies and their customers. Those relationships will feed the business. But you have to feed the relationship first.
What you wanna do as a client often depends getting people attention. And if you trying walking down the street and talk to people one at a time, that may work, but it might be better if you could have an audience of an entire city or an entire state or entire country or the entire world. Say something very provocative then you can set the stage for really intimate conversation and an ongoing relationship. For instance with the Old Spice we started with television and gained attention and then took that campaign and ran it digitally in responding online to tweets. But there’s other times we will start in reverse – and do stuff online and get a sense of where people argue and talk, do a lot of experimentation and take what was hot and blow it up and finish it up in television.
I do not think we’re in a place where we’ll have to choose between broadcast and interactive. I guess it’s ridiculous. That’s like saying you wanna right hand or a left hand. I want just both of my hands, you know. And some other appendages as well. I mean it’s just blaring if you have to, if this is the choice. It’s not a choice. It’s just expanding opportunities. More tools to have. So I think there’s gonna be a lot of really unique approaches to the interaction of screens and going forward.
If you are watching Superbowl this year you had the opportunity to watch the polar bears form Coca-cola. Watch the game and respond to the game in live time on a separate screen. And that kind of thing is really really interesting. This new generation of consumers are not gonna sit there and accept the products and accept the messages. They wanna be part of the action. And clients if they are smart realize that they are not the president of the communication system. They are one person, one entity, in conversation with millions and millions and billions of people. And so they have to listen and learn how to  listen as well as how to present themselves.
The idea of getting really personalized communication – it can get to the place where i find it completely irritating honestly. I do not like the idea that the INS guy knows exactly who i am and wants to sell me this now because i am looking at this online. I think that’s kind of disgusting quite honestly. Dude, i’ll get there when i wanna get there, you know, i dont want you to prime into what i am watching. Oh! You’re reading grapes of wrath! We’ve got some wonderful grapes for sale! It’s like come on!
I don’t like being nostalgic, i don’t like being futuristic, i just like working with what we’ve got right now. Because half the time people are thinking what the future is and they’re just making shit up, you know what i mean?
What will not go away is the art of storytelling. When you read a book, when you watch a movie, when you see a television commercial – that’s a one way piece of communication. And that’s always gonna be powerful. Always. Always. Always. 
Tags & Categories:  advertisinginterview
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