PRWeek’s August issue tells the story of the PR agency industry’s near shutout at the 2012 Cannes Lions. Only two PR agencies won PR Lions. The rest of the honors went to advertising agencies.
There’s been some hand wringing about what it means for the future of agency public relations. I think it is simply more evidence of how the emergence of digital is blurring the lines between public relations and the rest of marketing. PR powered by digital makes it easier for organizations to capture attention, create engagement and influence opinions.
Another important factor in the outcome at the awards is the fact that Cannes is about “creativity.” In that regard, there is no doubt that advertising agencies have an inherent advantage. PR agencies are best at creating healthy relationships between institutions and their publics; advertising agencies win the day in creative ideas.
Which is why I feel so lucky to have spent last 25 years practicing public relations in an integrated agency. Eric Mower established a public relations division at the agency almost four decades ago. At Eric Mower + Associates, public relations people work side by side with the best creative talents in the industry. Because our agency’s roots have grown in integrated soil, we’ve also learned that big ideas can come from anywhere. Creativity is an intersection.
Earlier this year, EMA put this experience in writing when we introduced the Declaration of Inter-Dependence, a 500-word manifesto signed by all of EMA’s creative directors. Under the banner of, “You’re creative, damn it,” the Declaration invited all EMAers to join the creative process:
“Our industry is changing. Our lives are changing.
We’re influenced less and less by what we see and hear…and more and more by what we feel and experience. This isn’t news to anyone. This isn’t a revelation. It’s just the new reality.
Unfortunately, the old reality is this: Much of our industry is still clinging to a creative model that was born before the FIRST screen was created, let alone the second or third.
In this outdated model, copywriters and art directors are charged with coming up with the Big Ideas, and everyone else is charged with sharing them with the world.
Well, it’s time to shake things up. It’s time to take EMA’s core value of collaboration to the next level — beyond simply playing nicely together and working as a team.”
Creative development efforts at EMA are more open than they’ve ever been before. Teams solve problems together and generate more compelling and impactful solutions.
I have no doubt that the Declaration of Inter-Dependence at EMA will mean better results for our clients. And with shared ownership of creativity, maybe a Cannes PR Lion is in our future.
Why not? We’re creative, damn it.
Greg Loh is the managing partner of public relations and public affairs at Eric Mower + Associates, one of the nation’s leading independent marketing communications agencies. Views expressed here are his own and do not reflect the opinions of EMA.