We love our strategists at knoodle. Here is a look at Rob Snyder, an original Mad Man, who is currently still thriving in the ad business. We are privileged to work alongside him. He has one of the most creative, strategic minds in the business.
Enjoy the interview. I didn’t change a single word.
Tell me about your background and “the old days” in New York
I grew up in the advertising world in New York. The world of small creative shops like Della Femina/Travisano, Scali, McCabe & Sloves and Ally/Gargano. And giant creative shops like Doyle Dane Bernbach, Ogilvy & Mather, Wells, Rich, Greene, BBDO and later J. Walter Thompson under Jim Patterson. But wherever you worked, you had the same mantra. As a creative person your job was not just to be creative. But to be award winning creative. Perfect. Brilliant. New. Different. Ground breaking. “It’s good. It’s not great. Yet”. “If you don’t come in on Saturday, don’t bother coming in on Sunday.” “If you go to the client and they don’t buy the work, don’t come back to the agency.” We didn’t work on great accounts. We made accounts great to work on. We lived and breathed advertising. We rarely left the agency. We had changes of clothes, pillows, blankets and toiletries. We went out to dinner in large groups and always took an account director to pay for us. We had offices with doors that locked. We had lots of drugs. And lots of sex. After all, we spent the majority of our time there.
What’s changed in the agency world?
Glass doors and open workspaces certainly changed agency life socially. Today, people walk outside to make a phone call. Lives are personal. Besides, no one wants to hear about your personal life when they’re trying to concentrate on work.
Open office plan. I’m not a big fan. Close proximity isn’t conducive to creativity. I believe that’s why advertising looks the way it does today. Uncaring. Bland. Boring. Repetitive. Marketers talk ad nauseam about content, data and context. No one ever talks about ideas. That’s just wrong.
One other very important change has happened. Once there was marketing with a strategy and an instinct. It was successful and talked to consumers. Today, instinct is erased from the equation. Too many voices. Too many opinions. Too much data. The fabric of great creative is eroded by over analysis. That could be the biggest change.
What has changed in the new marketing?
The best thing to happen to society is the Internet. It opened a world of new entrepreneurs. People with vision. People with ideas. The Internet created new businesses and gave their owners global access. For marketing and advertising it’s an unlimited horizon with unlimited possibilities. Traditional advertising and digital advertising melding together give products, brands and clients the most powerful force of communication anyone could have ever imagined.
How do you feel about marketing to millennials?
Millennials are the new Boomers. If you understand the Boomer market you’ll easily understand Millennials. These two groups are more closely aligned in political, social, cultural, intellectual and psychographic attitudes than any two demographic groups in history. They simply want the same thing. The only difference is attitudinal. Boomers think they have to work for it. Millennials think it’s coming to them.
The absolute best thing about Millennials is they have created a culture that makes brands accountable to them. To everyone. Millennials make brands stand for something bigger than profits. Brands have to perform and give to society locally, nationally and globally. Brands have to sacrifice for the consumer. For the good of the consumer and the good of the planet.
What does the future hold?
My crystal ball is slightly foggy. But my impression is positive. I think marketers will stop pitting traditional and digital against each other and realize how well the media mix works in tandem. I think consumers will pressure advertisers to entertain us more. Maybe we’ll get more arresting communication in all areas, in all media. 3D viewing and printing, new breakthroughs in every industry, innovative techniques in art and science are happening daily. Advertising professionals are the first to see new trends and cultural achievements. And they are certainly the first to adopt them into our craft.
The future is exciting. Embrace it.