BBDO Boss On The Forgotten Craft Of Creativity [Cannes]

David Lubars gives his thoughts on why attention to detail is always the best tool for the job.

Two years after David Lubars was named Chief Creative Officer, New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg declared January 10th “BBDO day.” Now, six years later, he is still responsible for the creative direction of one of most venerable agencies in the world. In anticipation of the panel he will be leading at this year’s Cannes Lions Festival, PSFK spoke with David Lubars on the forgotten art of ‘Craft’.

David, you’re back at Cannes.  How do you think the industry has changed over the last 12 months?

I don’t believe it has.  In fact, it probably hasn’t change in 50 years.  By that I mean, brilliant and timeless storytelling has always been, and still is, the most important thing we can provide for our clients.  Stories that humanize their products and their companies.  Yes, BBDO is at the technological forefront of how stories are told today, but we always remember it’s meaningless without the substance itself.

Is there a particular piece of work your agency has produced that reflects how BBDO is evolving?

Just last week, we launched a new project for AT&T called “Daybreak.”  It’s a long form piece that shows a lot of the cool things AT&T is doing and will be introducing.  I’ve had the good fortune to be part of things like BMW Films and  HBO “Voyeur”– this feels similar in that it’s new and different.

What makes Daybreak unique is, it’s a complete rethinking of how Hollywood and advertising agencies can create together – a case where 1 + 1 equals 3 or whatever the metaphor is.  We worked with TV series creator Tim Kring (whose latest show is Touch, starring Kiefer Sutherland), RSA Films and director Jon Cassar (known for his work on 24).

There have been marriages between Hollywood and marketing in the past but, in this case, Touch and Daybreak are placed under one umbrella. Where Touch’s first season ends, Daybreak’s begins.  The five-episode run of Daybreak will then dovetail back into Touch; then Touch will dovetail into season two of Daybreak and so on.  They will leapfrog each other and keep momentum going for both series, with shared assets and plot points.

Daybreak also has an app that does stuff people won’t have seen before. The app puts some of the AT&T technology seen in the show in people’s hands in a pretty cool way.

 You’re giving a talk at Cannes called “A Dissection of What Makes Great Creative Great” on Thursday 21 June at 2:30pm at Theatre Debussy.  Why do you think it’s important to talk about this subject at this time?

Craft and attention to detail seem to be forgotten in all the discussions I’ve heard lately.  The truth is, no matter how great a story, if you don’t tell it right, it comes out badly.  How many great books have been made into terrible movies?  On the other hand, The Godfather was an unheralded airport type book which became one of the greatest movies of all time.  Why?  Craft at every level.  Writing, acting, lighting, set design, editing, music, everything.  When every element is put together in the right way, something bigger and better happens.  That’s what our clients need.  A few of my BBDO creative partners and I will talk about this at the Debussy.

Thanks David!

Catch up with David Lubars at the panel he will be participating in during this year’s Festival:

Panel: BBDO: Everything Counts: A Dissection of What Makes Great Creative Great

Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity

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