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Creative Jam panel: All marketing is a risk

Everything one does in marketing is a risk—including repeating something successfully done, Nick Moore, EVP and chief creative officer of Wunderman New York, told an audience during a panel discussion at Thursday’s DMNews Creative Jam in New York.

Moore was part of a creative agency forum on the importance of risk, which was moderated by DMNews‘ editorial director Julia Hood and also included Duncan Gray, executive creative director of Proximity London, and Holly Pavlika, executive creative director of Big Fuel.

Although some brands undoubtedly take bigger advertising risks than others, Gray said agencies shouldn’t have to sell clients on the idea of taking risks. He agreed with Moore, saying that everything is a risk, but the process has to be a full “collaboration of insight and creative,” and that agencies should work with clients to brainstorm and create more interaction.

In response to a question on why it sometimes appeared certain geographies come up with riskier campaigns, Moore said, “The US sells things and the UK allows people to buy them.”

He explained that there’s more seduction involved and less “yelling” in campaigns outside the US. He noted that the bigger the country and the more people involved in campaigns inversely affects a campaign’s entrepreneurial aspects.

“It’s not so much getting it right, as much as not getting it wrong,” he said. But, he concluded, this could be because larger-scale campaigns have much more at stake financially, which makes it easier to play it safe.

Pavlika stressed the importance of content, noting people are not going to interact with a brand unless they’re entertained and much of this has to do with the move into the digital space.

But because of the speed of the Internet, Moore said jokingly that direct marketers “can’t fool themselves any longer. We learn really fast how much of a failure we are…it keeps us humble.”

The panel also addressed the impact of the economy on taking risks.

“Recession is the mother of invention,” Gray said. Often, the best creative work is done within the confines of a tight budget, Gray said, predicting that marketers would look back on these times and consider many of today’s campaigns “iconic.”

Pavlika agreed, noting the economy is forcing people to become increasingly creative in every aspect of their lives: how to pay bills, how to entertain themselves and other ways they spend money. So it’s no shock that marketing will follow suit, she said.

“We’re in a world of creativity right now,” she said.

Adapting to the ever-shifting marketing landscape is most important, Moore said.

“People are motivated by different things today than they were 18 months ago. Things that worked last summer are not going to work now,” he said. “It keeps things interesting and frightening.”

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