At our last Richemont Group Coordination Meeting in Nov 2010, I've focused on a lot of new technologies and showcased how luxury brands can best use of them to create innovative experiences since they all want to be 'the first' in their categories when it comes to digital innovation. I quickly realized that is not exactly what they're looking for. What they're really looking for, or really want to create, is extending their presences in multiple media touchpoints, be it digital or offline, to create holistic brand experiences.
Back in the golden era of advertising, there weren't media agencies. Media was merely a department within then much celebrated creative agencies. It made sense, because back in the old days there was just very few media. There was print, radio, and the popular TV. And the media were very local, not to mention national, and global. If you're a big brand with a national footprint, there weren't many choices when it came to media selection. Therefore the only way to stand out from the cluttered media channel was by creative use of visuals and ad copies. That explained the importance of Creative over Media.
Now we're in the digital age, where there are thousands and thousands of multiple media channels (or touchpoints) for us to obtain information. Media are no longer cluttered (although few still remain), but rather scattered. The challenges brands now facing aren't very much on the creative use of visual and ad copies to stand out (although often these are still important), they're rather on the creative use of multiple media touchpoints to create meaningful brand experiences.
Think about how we read a print magazine and with augmented reality technology it enables you to view additional, exclusive multimedia materials using a mobile device. Think about how we enter into a retail store and using touchscreen kiosk it enables you to custom make to order a particular product. Think about how the advertisement on a flat screen outdoor panel changes with personal message based on the facial recognition to identify who you are or what gender you are. Think about how you can obtain discount coupons from retail outlets nearby on your mobile device based on which location you are currently at. Think about all the possibilities... it's not too far from the future!
Nevertheless, creativity remains an important element in advertising. It just got more complicated, with the shift of media, and the shift of how users consume media.