The Only Career Safe From Robots:

Peter Ignazi on why we
need great creative

The Only Career Safe From Robots:

Peter Ignazi on why we
need great creative

01

AUGUST, 2018

Written by Katherine Pendrill
Photos by Andrea Davidova

Advertising is dead. At least that’s what every headline since 2015 has been telling us. But if you ask Peter Ignazi, Global Chief Creative Officer at Cossette, advertising is anything but dead. Even more importantly, great creative can be a powerful tool when it comes to changing the world — you just need to know how to use it.

On July 26th, Peter dropped by Miami Ad School Toronto to share his thoughts on getting to great creative, using advertising as a tool for change, and the big question, why we’re all here. While Peter’s talk was packed with advice, case studies, and a few jokes about P. Diddy, his point was simple: great creative can truly change the world.

“You are the ones who look at a problem and think of things differently.”

Despite his cheery tone, Peter began his talk by admitting that “bad news bears” pretty much sums up the state of the world right now. The good news? Great creative can help to fix things, or at the very least, make them a little less bleak. Of course, the key word here is great creative, meaning that ordinary ideas will only get you so far.

Drawing on his own experience at Cossette, Peter has found that putting great creative first is a winning strategy, and the business world is taking notes. Case in point, two unforgettable Procter & Gamble ads from this year: “The Talk” and “It’s a Tide Ad.” While two very different ads, both are examples of great creative that hits one of four key notes: funny, emotional, cool, or shocking. Summed up in the great words of Dan Wieden: “Just make me feel something dude.”

Banff Centre | “Things You Can’t Unthink”

“You have to go beyond what’s asked for if you’re going to do anything great.”

But how exactly do you get to great, honest, and authentic work that actually makes people feel something? For Peter, it’s as simple as keeping four not-so-simple things in mind. For starters, you have to go above and beyond the ask, and challenge yourself and those around you. As Peter explains, this doesn’t mean asking his team, “Is this our best work?,” but instead asking, “Is this the best work in the world?.” If there was ever proof that going above and beyond can lead to great things, just look at the bizarre, yet hilarious “Skittles Cat campaign.

McDonalds Canada | “Follow the Arches”

“Get close to your clients, but don’t think like them.”

As if over-delivering weren’t enough, Peter also points out that great work sometimes requires shifting your focus, as Cossette did with SickKids “VS.” Or in the case of the “Things You Can’t Unthink” ad for the Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity, it means going broad and keeping eyes wide open. But above all, Peter emphasizes resisting the desire to complicate things — something that’s easier said than done for most creatives. If you doubting whether simple sells, just look at the “Follow the Arches” campaign for McDonald’s Canada, which picked up a Cannes Grand Prix win earlier this summer. Not too shabby for a few billboards, eh?

SickKids | “SickKids VS”

“Brands now have permission to do good.”

While it’s clear that Peter knows how to get to great work, these days, that great work can be used to promote equally great causes. As Peter emphasizes, brands now have permission to do good and, in some cases, consumers expect them to do some good for the world. Whether it’s saving bumblebees, helping to stem climate change, normalizing period blood, or even taking on Nazis (with the help of other Nazis), it’s clear that great creative can have a great impact. And if you’re worried that the robots might usurp the role of creatives in the near future, fear not. In Peter’s eyes, robots and automation are limited to linear thinking, leaving anyone with a creative brain gainfully employed — so long as you protect your “specialness” at all costs and shamelessly promote yourself with the confidence of P. Diddy, that is.

“We didn’t come here to be ordinary.”

“We didn’t come here to be ordinary.”

Want to start a career that won’t be replaced by robots 20 years from now? Consider signing up for one of our two-year portfolio programs in Art Direction or Copywriting.

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