A Time Out with Rob Tarry CD from Rethink Communications at Marketing Week

I got the chance to talk to one of the headliners in the Creative Genius roundtable at CMA’s Marketing Week Rob Tarry a Partner and Associate Creative Director at Rethink Communications in Vancouver, British Columbia.

I asked beyond the work he brought what was his favourite piece he saw at the panel. It was a 600 meter projection installation on a series of grain silos by Sid Lee on the St Lawrence River called the image mill in Quebec City first done for their 400th anniversary. The sheer technical marvel of it and the fact that it earned a home in the 2008 Guinness book of world records made it a showstopper to everyone who could see it.

The focus of the panel was on the need for creatives and media to work collaboratively. The work that Rethink showed off at the panel tended to be for rather small, local clients. Rob found that smaller clients “were more likely to say yes because they were only on the scale of Vancouver or maybe BC wide” as opposed to trying to convince a large firm to do this type of thing nationwide which would be incredibly expensive.

Rob said that when you as a viewer just get an idea, where they are coming from, the point they are trying to make and you get it so well that you are ready to anticipate what comes next and you are looking for it. When you can let yourself go and anticipate where you are being taken that is what a good idea is all about.

I asked where is great work being done he said that it used to be that when he got started in advertising 10 to 12 years ago everyone had euro envy because they were the ones doing innovative, edgy fun things but it is different today “everywhere is Europe, everything is without borders and if it is a good idea it can play anywhere.”

He says that it is to the point now where you can’t tell where an ad is made for now it is just good or bad. In the old days it could feel that the strategy for “a campaign came down from the mountain top” whereas today it is definitely more collaborative at the better shows where it is much more collaborative at the beginning with the client, creatives and account people working together.

Rob said that he wants twitter to become something more than retweeting other people’s hilarity and for more home grown hilarity. To Rob the Internet in general is where your judgement and opinion can be spread far and wide with the click of a button and if you make a misstep you can get crucified. It is the nature of the internet according to him that forces people to become more polarizing than they might be normally. The internet in general tends to inflate both positive and negative opinions artificially.

Those that do blog and tweet know that in order to get noticed they have to get more and more extreme and even if they don’t feel that way they do it to get noticed by the masses online. Instead of bringing people together it can be unnecessarily combative jut to get noticed and even then the notoriety is fleeting.

Looking back on Marketing Week I found that even though each day had a different focus day one on digital day 2 on media they tended to blur into each other. Rob says while the Internet is infinitely capable is the audience willing to do these things? That is not something that cannot be assumed because like he said in the round table people can be lazy.

That is why small simple ideas like the camera in a banner ad that followed your mouse (was one of his examples to check it out click here) as it moved on screen could be successful. Whereas more elaborate ideas like mafia wars that require more effort may require more time and effort than most are willing to spend.

There is a segment of the population that are joiners and the Internet is inspiring more people to be joiners. Rob said as we all know that early it was thought that people wanted to be in these neatly trimmed walled gardens to then the Wild West where people would “be awash in a sea of data and didn’t know who to trust.”

To today where he feels we are in a happy middle ground where the Internet has found its biggest success. Where things are still vaguely familiar but you can go back to facebook and it is pulling things in from all over. People online don’t want people telling them where to go they want to aggregate it themselves.

What does Rob like creatively is when you have given people something to get where you have left a trail of breadcrumbs and they start following them and they want to know where it leads and “you’re having some fun, you’re playing a game, telling a story, you have a premise, you have action and it comes to a conclusion and people are interested enough to find out where the story goes that to me is a lot of fun.”

The challenge today is that there are no limits; no parameters at least before with a 30 second TV spot you have to be brief today the shackles are off. His thought echoes through the minds of marketers and advertisers as there are more and more channels to deal with which is one reason why collaboration between media and creatives will continue to be important and more abundant.

A great idea can travel and that is what everyone in the room at the panel is in search of, something that can stand tall and be heard. Marketers need to anticipate trends in the digital space and look for ideas that can travel because no matter the platform be it traditional or new media it will be the idea that will get people to pay attention.

I just wanted to thank Rob from Rethink Communications for taking the time to talk with me at Marketing Week about creativity and the Internet.