Ad and all other manner of agencies have been 'making' things since they existed. Albeit things like print, TV, outdoor, websites, display ads, DM, collateral etc. The artifact that is typically created falls out of a knowledge-worker sensiblity rather than the tinkering-on-a-workbench type of making that occurred during the Industrial Revolution or today in the factories around the world.
However, there is a blending of world's starting to happen that is a canary in the coalmine. The maker subculture has been slowly showing up in unused corners of ad and digital agencies over the past couple of years. In cities around the world, hacker spaces have been popping up giving people that have a technology, DIY propensity to get together and make things. Many of these people are now becoming creatives in the ad and digital agencies as they evolve from the traditional advertising of yesteryear into evolution of connecting with buyers in new ways. This evolution is forcing an understanding of technology combined with the grasping of brand and marketing concepts. A new breed, for sure. Combine this with the fact that the physical and digital worlds are colliding faster than ever and our retail and environmental spaces will begin to adapt to our thoughts and will (neurological commands are coming to a store near you.)
The people that understand how to make something from a series of seemingly unrelated parts and pieces molded into a usable, relevant experience will be the creative directors of tomorrow. In fact, the agencies out in front are developing hacker spaces right inside of their agencies. The canary in the coalmine are the early adopters inside of agencies doing this stuff in their spare time and in those unused corners of the agencies to prove to leadership and clients that it can be done. And, it creates a nice innovation halo for the agency's brand.
Today, the agency that my business unit is nested within, Havas Worldwide Chicago and one of those early adopters, Tyler DeAngelo the Executive Creative Director, brought the world the The Buzzed Buzzer. The Buzzed Buzzer is a new year's noise maker that doesn't work unless you are drunk. Powered by a breathylyzer inside of the horn, it rocks when you are rocked. This idea is borne from a passion for the creative process. Creative as defined in bringing together things in new ways that have never been brought together before. This isn't his first entry into the world of maker, he brought us the gumball machine that only dispenses when you check into the location on Foursquare currently places inside of Legal Seafoods In Boston.
But Tyler and Havas are not the only innovative people in ad agencies talking about maker culture in creative environments. The venerable Ed Boches wrote about his POV on maker culture here, an excerpt from his perspective >>
It demonstrates a culture of innovation by using rather than simply talking about new technologies.
It teaches people who aren’t technological to conceive things that can be built and prototyped, tested and iterated, expanding their creative repertoire and frame of reference.
And perhaps most importantly it shows clients that their agency is inventing, not just making ads.
I think the is the golden age of marketing and advertising. It is a generation where creatvity isn't just about the big idea, tagline or awesome art direction. It is about inventing. And isn't that the spirit we all strive for anyway? Invention is the mother of necessity so hopefully this is all leading us into a necessary new era of connecting people and brands.