Former Grey Group worldwide creative director Tim Mellors, now global creative partner at Pointblank Productions, explains why people will always remain the advertising industry’s greatest asset.
What are clients looking for in their advertising and media solutions in 2015?
Unglamorously the same thing they’ve always been looking for, value for money.
What have been the most notable changes in the advertising industry since your career began?
Advertising has perpetrated two complete disasters. The first was to be the only creative business, unlike music, TV or films, that gave away its intellectual property rights. The reason was pure greed. Rather than take a fee we demanded a 17.65% levy on media. The second was we then arrogantly lopped off our media arms creating the current independent media businesses. Stupid and costly beyond belief for agencies.
What has been the biggest challenge of your career?
The constant demand by clients for a new and fresh idea which, of course, made creative the paramount discipline in agencies. Now shareholder value has changed the clients’ emphasis to ROI so, although in client surveys ‘great creative’ is still supposedly the number one requirement, when you look at the current standard of work it clearly isn’t.
How would you describe your leadership style?
The older I get the less I know I know. The old fashioned pontifical fount of all wisdom creative director was based on ego and grandiosity. It was always bullshit. I never forget what it’s like to be a young creative, full of enthusiasm and energy, but equally full of fear and self-doubt. I believe in nurturing, protecting and encouraging creative. It’s a tough enough job without having some egomaniacal bully making it worse.
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given in your career?
“It’s only advertising, nobody gets killed.”
If you could pick one media platform that currently offers the greatest potential, which would it be and why?
For all the guff about new media, television, regardless of where or how it is seen, is still the richest source of content ever invented. So much so it’s even subsuming the best writers, directors and producers from film now. Writing it off is gimmickry.
If you could pick a single industry buzzword you could ban, what would it be and why?
I’d ban the fucking lot, including the two in the next two questions, ‘passion’ and ‘exciting’.
What are your passions outside of work?
I do a bit of writing, a bit of painting and I’m fond of Derbyshire but all in a lukewarm way.
What’s the most exciting thing about being in the advertising and media industry today?
Same as it’s always been, the people. It’s a business that attracts interesting, iconoclastic, witty, arty, silly people and you don’t have to be a genius to get a job in it.