Faris Yakob

Faris Yakob, Chief Innovation Officer, MDC Partners

1. What could/should “advertising” look like in 2020?

The best advertising in the world is being celebrated as the results from the first round of judging of the D&AD Global Awards are released across the Grid.

Since the turn of the century the awards have gone from strength to strength – the categories for inclusion forced eve wider by prevailing cultural currents.

The content explosion of 2010s further democratized the means of content production, enabling anyone with an idea to easily produce and distribute professional quality expressions using simple generative engines, and the emergence of bitcasting, which renders pure data into highly personalized media at the point of the consumption, in whatever form preferred by the consumer, triggered a creative arms race between ‘consumers’ and ‘advertisers’. Previously, the creation of content was a privileged act, now every human was creating themselves through media like breathing.

Awash in an infinite ocean of content that constantly cried out for their attention, consumers continued to screen out invasive advertising, threatening the media supply business model in the process.

Brand communicators began to explore new areas of enhancement; plowing millions into technology and neuroscience R&D, they began to offer consumers value-added experiences they couldn’t yet get from each other.

This year’s nominees, vying for the rarely bestowed Iridium Pencil, demonstrate the array of creativity now employed to sell and enhance products, creating price premiums. The most nominated work is the global phenomenon Love, the immersive brand experience crafted by dotinfinity for Coca-Cola.

This psycho-sexual role playing game uses non-invasive electrical stimulation to generate primary emotional and pleasure responses in the users, known as Lovers, as they play. Keen Lovers maintain that the sensations in the game are as potent as anything experienced in real relationships.

The first feature film designed and produced in entirety as advertising has also been nominated. The film, Nike’s Just Do It, features the bioengineered Metaman alongside avatar actors created for the movie and its string of transmedia extensions.

This year’s surprise design hit is the Sony Connected Identity LCD skin print. Every wearer is Grid-linked and the liquid crystal tattoo responds to any changes in the network. Technology Design collective Umbilical created the must have fashion item.

This year also sees the first entry from the agency Artificial Life. The 60 second brand film is a heart warming slice of life for WalMart.

Their entry hearkens back to an earlier, simpler age in both form and content, which is surprising since the agency is made up entirely of 9th generation artificial intelligences.

2. What do we need to do now for this future?

  1. A much broader definition of advertising
  2. As the creative solution to business problems
  3. Or the commercial leverage of creativity
  4. At its broadest
  5. Not just the development and distribution of pre-determined commercial units
  6. Different kinds of thinkers able to concept, articulate, and execute ideas that lie far outside the units of the past
  7. An embrace of strategic experimentation
  8. An understanding that technology is a medium
  9. That art and copy are not the only creative elements

Since Arduinos and code can also solve problems and earn attention

  • A willingness to help people not just sell them things
  • Respect for everyone: clients, customers, interns, each other
  • The desire to add value to companies and culture at the same time
  • Niceness, empathy, intelligence, enthusiasm, curiosity, manners
  • And lots and lots of good ideas.

Faris Yakob
Chief Innovation Office MDC/kbs+
Founding Partner of Spies&Assassins