The breakfast speakers at the AAF National Convention today were inspiring- not so much in what they’ve achieved- but in how things have changed and that the size of your ideas is the new currency.

Andy Berndt, co-president of Ogilvy NY, and Jonathan Mildenhall, the VP Global Creative and Communications Development for the Coca-Cola Company sat on the dais- and basically looked at each other and traded barbs- how does a guy who worked at a bunch of small creative agencies get to be the Co-President of Ogilvy? And, how does a guy who worked at a bunch of boutique UK firms like BBH and Mother- end up as a VP at Coke?

And the answer is: having the vision, understanding the new equation, and lastly, being really nice, down to earth guys. Neither of these two were close to gray hair (although Jonathan doesn’t have any- so it’s hard to judge) - but this is far from the gray haired, old school oligarchy that used to rule in Corporate America.

What was even cooler, they let a junior creative- Tristan Kincaid moderate and showcase the work for Fanta. A new campaign that screamed “refreshing” in a way- that wasn’t screaming- a great example of making ads that people would want to watch.

In their discussion about how Ogilvy and Coke WORKED TOGETHER on this new creative it became clear that the middle man account exec is being stripped out of the process by smart marketers- who want direct interaction with the creative team. And, along with this new way of working- they also skipped the client dictated creative brief- and just said- “Solve the problem.”

Andy gave this fantastic quote, to which I can’t attribute yet- “Give us the problem to solve- not the solution to decorate.” More insight on how one of the worlds premier brands is solving their marketing problems.

These guys realized we are in the day where both of the following statements are true:

  • Everything is an ad
  • Nothing is an ad

They are looking for a cultural platform- not an ad campaign, and are willing to look anywhere- and to anyone for inspiration.

Inspiring ideas- inspiring work.