Oil, weapons and sugar – By @sammcollinss

By Sam Collins


Oil, weapons and sugar


“Another exciting week at the SCA.”

Sometimes I awake from gentle slumber with those words massaging my — Marc has repeated them so often that they seem to have finally permeated my subconscious.

It’s not a lie either – sometimes SCA feels like a 24 hour TED Talk. And this week was especially phenomenal. We’re working on some quality briefs at the moment and it seems things are really starting to click for people across the class. The standard of work has really improved in the last fortnight. It’s so inspiring to watch people come out of their shells and fly on this course.

A steady stream of absurdly impressive talent and experience continues to waltz up to the studio.

On Monday, Jonathan Wise from ‘Create and Strike’ shared his thoughts on how the ad industry is responding to the ‘climate emergency.’ Whilst there doesn’t seem to be much to show for their efforts right now, Jonathan predicts it’ll be the younger employees in advertising who will eventually self-organise and refuse to work on high-carbon clients. I don’t disagree with him. He hoped this will create a stand-out moment in the history of the industry. However, whilst we were exactly the kind of people that should jump to the defence of Jonathan, many of us weren’t convinced by his ideas. Although I’m told he was given a far frostier reception last year, I was surprised by the lack of support there was in the room for his ideas. I know the majority of my classmates are concerned about the environment and the affect the advertising industry is having on consumption. It got me thinking –- why didn’t Jonathan’s message resonate?

His talk might have sparked a spirited debate about the sort of work people wanted to make, which agencies we’d like to work for, and what the best way would be to create a positive change in the industry – which was a good thing. But what it didn’t do was unite the room in support of what is clearly a very noble project with highly desirable aims.

I found Jonathan’s passion and resilience admirable. But he seemed to lack clarity and direction. He did a good job diagnosing the challenge; we’re all fucked. But when it came to guiding policies or indeed coherent actions to execute these policies, he didn’t seem to have his ducks in a row.

In contrast, the following day Andy Sandoz (Head of Digital at Deloitte) came in. Andy spoke about how ethics and sustainability are both crucial, central tenets for businesses of the future. In a world where management consultancy and accountancy firms are buying ad agencies to bolster their creative input to end-to-end business development, it was an absolute fascinating talk – and I was genuinely sad when it was over. There was however a crucial distinction in their presentations. Where Jonathan seemed vague and unsure of exactly what he wanted to see happen next, Andy was able to articulate how he planned to reorient the juggernaut that is Deloitte in a more creative direction.

It got me thinking about how important strategy is in both business and marketing. I do hope they’ll meet one day — those two could really do something special.

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