An old college professor of mine sent me this link regarding the surge of creative shops popping up along the F-Train line in New York. He asked me to weigh in on whether or not Ottawa would follow suit. Below are my thoughts.
These agencies that are popping up in New York are exciting, and definitely showing that the ‘traditional’ advertising model isn’t going to cut it. This is the new traditional. What I fear is that they’re not creating lasting brands. They’re creating these quick campaigns to get impressions, not necessarily creating a lasting relationship with the consumer in the process. I suppose time will tell with that. Personally, I think it’s great. It’s great to see these young creative minds taking control and being able to properly communicate and execute their ideas. This is also challenging their clients to loosen their ties a bit, and that’s always a good thing.
This could happen in Ottawa, absolutely. All it takes is the right people to do it. The same people have been driving the bus for a long time, and while I think that’s given us a solid backbone, I think it’s time people realize that there are new and potentially better ways to get things done, and that the creative minds exist in this city that are able to raise the creative profile. And it may not be in agencies that so many have called home for a long time, either.
Ottawa’s always been a bit of a follower city – so I could see a bit of a creative surge in a few years as clients learn about YouTube and Internet browsers other than Internet Explorer. But my goal is to speed up that process. By starting the Ottawa Creative Collective and hosting the Blackhole Sessions, we as a group are encouraging more and more creativity from each other, and those with the capacity will hopefully prevail in the end.
There are a few folks in town who are on the cusp of greatness. The Greater Good is more of a collective – a slew of extremely competent freelancers sharing office space. So if a client needs a video, they refer them to Graham Rapsey. If they need amazing design work, they go to Ian Rapsey, etc. and so on. Northern Army, a small shop in Westboro, is doing pretty great things, as well. And there’s a handful of other shops who are doing the occasional work that gets people thinking. There needs to be more, though.
We’ll never be New York, I don’t think. But we can have our own brand of it. It takes a couple things. Hard work and communication. We need people who don’t clock out at 5:30 and we need clients who understand what we’re doing – and it’s on us to properly communicate our ideas and show that the unconventional can get results. We’ll get there. I have faith.