Tuesday, 6 October 2009

Helge Tennø

A short while ago in my favourite nightclub anywhere in the world which I wrote my next post under (with you tomorrow), a young couple from Italy got talking to me while I smoked a cigarette outside on the stairway.

The girl asked me what I do. Well there was a time when being a planner was too hard to sound-bite without sounding pompous, but I was fortunate enough on this occasion, to have the company of a writer who implied he wrote copy to keep his head above water, and  the girlfriend who worked in advertising as a creative. They were from Milan and so I remembered I'd been there two years ago for the global creative review that JWT takes very seriously and which still takes place I think each quarter. More on that over here if you're interested.

We talked briefly about where was hip and hot, and we had one of those deliciously violent agreements that rapidly settled on South American and specifically Argentinia and Brazil as serving up some of the hottest advertising on the planet. Second choice was that Scandinavia was totally on top of its game, to which I added that it's my belief that the Scandinavians are consistently and coherently pumping out some of the best planning thinking on the globe right now and thus validating the planning discipline.

Arguably this part of Europe is now ahead of London, and New York (with the exception of Lee Maschemeyer and Faris) and in some ways,  as is the Scandinavian tradition, is ostensibly chipping away at reconciling what I recently like to call The Grand Theory.

This is the one planners are (I feel) morally obliged to attempt to pull together the unavoidable yet disparate ends of both wealth creation and sustainable consumption i.e. doing the right thing the right way at the right time with the right people, because surely that is the only challenge worth applying our collectives mind to; The unexamined life not worth living and all that?

Let's be candid. The creative community's core skills and output shouldn't be burdened with this Sisyphean task AND the need to recognise the importance and value of awards in our business and more importantly peoples appreciation of communication well thought through. Our account people are, (and should) be too busy getting on with keeping our collective shit together doing the grown up stuff like running our clients business and keeping them happy.

I was thinking specifically of Helge Tenne from Norway, when I talked about the Scandinavian (Arctic?) circle with the Italians, but I could just as easily talk about both the creative and intellectual coherency eminating from Sweden and Finland too.

In any case (don't I just go on?) this latest  presentation is a great example of the quality of thinking I'm excited about, and which points towards a much more responsible and less opportunistic role for marketing communications in the future, although that isn't the purpose of Helge's presenation specifically.

And if any of that sounds like rubbish (which it probably is) then I urge you to take a tangential tour to this podcast with one of my favourite thinkers Doug Rushkoff and listen to the raw authenticity of the radio medium uncut and sprinkled with idiosyncratic thought-points worth pausing over two if not three times. 

Excellent media in action.

Right. As you were.