Qs & cocktails with…

The man who has been chosen to follow in Keith Reinhardt's footsteps at New York-based DDB Worldwide has conceded that advertising is no longer first and foremost about television.

The man who has been chosen to follow in Keith Reinhardt’s footsteps at New York-based DDB Worldwide has conceded that advertising is no longer first and foremost about television.

But this epiphany is not such bad news for DDB Canada. ‘In smaller markets, they’ve been thinking innovatively for a long time, because they haven’t been able to live off TV-only advertising,’ says Kaess. ‘Some of the best integrated agencies we have are Vancouver, Singapore, and Brazil.’

We caught up with Kaess – who along with Reinhardt was in Toronto to celebrate Frank Palmer’s gold medal award from the ACA last fall – for a brief chat over cocktails before he was whisked away to lunch.

How does this move towards holistic advertising change how the DDB network approaches solutions?

More and more we involve all the different units initially in the discussion of the marketer’s problems. We share with the disciplines and figure out the best way to reach the consumer. It sounds simple but it’s not, because historically these divisions didn’t work together. We’ve made a lot of progress, but we have a ways to go. My dream would be that in two years we didn’t have an interactive, direct, or advertising department. They would all be together and they would all be able to create in different media.

What would be the impact on the DDB network’s operational structure?

This is going to impact all jobs. Account people are going to have to become more than account people – they are going to have to represent all kinds of communications for their clients – ad planners are going to become communication planners, and creatives are going to need to be more versatile. It’s an evolutionary process.

At DDB, the mantra is ‘better ideas, better results.’ How does the organization encourage ‘better ideas?’

It goes back to client-centric creativity. If the client is involved in the process, they’re going to inspire. If all departments on all levels focus on what the client need is, it’s going to be quite natural. The other thing that helps is our whole performance-based compensation plan in the U.S., because if bonuses are given then, guess what, everyone goes for the same goal. If the Wassup guys aren’t selling beer, then they’ll be the first ones to say: ‘We have to evolve this campaign.’