Advertising: Creativity is the best tool we have

David Lubars is Chairman and Chief Creative Officer of BBDO North America, and this year's Titanium Lions Jury President at the Cannes Advertising Festival. He started his career in 1981 and has since won every major creative award out there several times over, including a Cannes Titanium Lion, an award especially created to honor the outstanding achievement repre­sented by the internet films for BMW produced during his time as President of Fallon Worldwide and Executive Creative Director of Fallon North America. He has also won 17 "regular" Cannes Lions and the Emmy for Best TV Commercial in America no less than three times. He has been named Crea­tive Director of the Year 2000 in Ad-week, and his BMW films are now part of MoMA's permanent collection in New York City . David Lubars answered questions put to him by Michael Weinzettl for Lurzer's Archive, covering everything from his career and future plans for BBDO, New York , through to his views on advertising today.

: What, in your opinion, makes a good advertising creative?

David Lubars: Extraordinary natural talent, of course, but also an almost, but not quite, debilitating insecurity. The best people have trouble living in their own skin because nothing is ever great enough, nothing is ever smart enough. They worry someone else is doing something better, they're afraid of disappointing the client, and on and on. It's a tough way to live but the best ones are like that. I once heard a saying to the effect that the best peo­ple are afraid of being fired, whereas the mediocre ones are always shocked when they are.

L.A. : How do you view the state of advertising in the US at present as compared to, say, 15 years ago?

David Lubars: A couple of months ago, Peter Souter of AMV/BBDO flew to New York to work on a project together. Unfortunately, he came down with a nasty flu on the plane so, in­stead of going to dinner with us that evening, he stayed in his hotel to recover. The next day, he felt better and came into the office. The first thing out of his mouth; "I watched primetime American television for 6 hours straight last night, the first time I've had the opportunity to do that. The hotel had 50 channels and I flipped back and forth between them all. I didn't see one brilliant commercial the entire evening. In England , I'd have seen five or six." Depressing, but he's right. We and our clients must con­stantly remind ourselves that brilliant creativity will bring disproportionate results, that it is an economic multiplier. Creativity is the best tool we have, in whichever medium we apply it.

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