What Do Creative Directors (CD's) DO in an Ad Agency? How are decisions made?
A phone call with an old friend with BA in Advertising from OCAD University in Toronto, who is currently working as a strategist in an agency called ReThink Canada made things so clear. They are one of the biggest independent creative agencies in Canada with offices in Vancouver, Montreal and Toronto. They are by far one of the coolest, most strategic, and creative agencies. So, it was great to get insight on what CD’s at ReThink do every day. Luckily, CD’s and strategists spend a long time working together, where the strategist feeds information to the CD to the creative content is being produce is on strategy.
A CD works on different clients in a day. They spend most of their time mentoring and literally directing the creative team. They have regular meetings with their teams discussing what ideas work, which don’t. They are often in client meetings and it is crucial for them to be present and be the ones talking as they represent and are responsible for the ideas being presented. Sometimes they are researching the company, because as much as they are reliant on the strategist to do the research for them, they need to fill their own heads with information. Also, they are personally working on projects where they would be ideating a lot of different solutions for something to crack the problem. I always thought CD’s mainly designate responsibilities, lead the teams, meaning they manage the time, give creative direction while organizing brainstorming sessions and scheduling meetings to make sure everyone is on track and the project is progressing smoothly. Only then, they present the ideas. But, turns out, I was wrong in thinking designers and creatives also contribute to the ideation. The CD, with the approval and presence of the client and the CEO, makes all the decisions. To be honest, I feel a bit disappointed learning that designers have no say in the idea. With so much conversation happening on collaboration, co-creative, and innovation, wouldn’t they want everyone’s opinion?