History has a way of repeating itself. I still remember the heady days of the original digital agencies. They were built on the market demand for Websites ranging from the complex transactional to the marketing microsite. The smart agencies however knew that they had to diversify by bringing in "traditional" talent in the form of planners, art directors and copywriters. These new additions to "digital" teams often times didn't even know how to code, push a pixel and many were not considered digital. But they knew how to tell a story.
Today, even the most talented art directors and writers aren't enough. Neither are the social-savvy digital types. Alone, they may be able to push their craft—but working together surrounded by planning and analytics they can operate as the heart of the creative engine behind any campaign. A few thoughts about how these roles should operate:
Today's art directors as always should be able to drive a concept and bring it to life. Ideally, in a digital world they possess a healthy amount of interaction design sensibility meaning they can think not only in "ads" but also in experience. It's a rare combination but not impossible to find. Some can even code.
Able to use harness written word in all its forms whether it be in headline, script, or crafting the big idea into tangible communication—copywriters are also drivers of the concepts. Today's copywriters articulate concepts and when it comes to the craft of writing for an audience understand the difference in medium (television, print, web, mobile).
The least traditional of the three—this role focuses on the social viability of the creative. Social engineers can come from backgrounds like community management or social strategy and know instinctively what levers to pull in social spaces to ensure an idea has legs there and does more than translates but is social-centric at the core.
Madison avenue creative was built on the legendary relationships and teamwork of art directors and copywriters. Much of that chemistry is still relevant today, when it comes to great creative. Add in a "social engineer" to the evolved version of those two disciplines—and watch the magic happen.