This is a little article that I wrote that got published in The World's Leading Independent Agencies 2016 report today.
We all spend the formative years of our lives striving for independence. As we learn and grow, we exist in a dependent world, a world where our decisions are made for us.
What we should eat, when we should sleep, who we can see and when. Our money is tightly controlled and what we spend it on even more so. For all the joys of childhood, there was always that frustrated hankering for being allowed to stay up a little later to watch an episode of Cagney & Lacey.
It is this dependence that makes teenagers rebel. I became a geek, Claire Hynes was a goth, Laura Jordan-Bambach was both. And still is.
But at an indeterminate moment of maturity, we all aspire to set off on our own path. Armed with a lifetime of learning. Ready to strike out and find our own way in the world. Each generation building on the experience of the last.
It is at that moment that we are at our most creative. Free to make our way in the world in a way that we see fit. To pursue our passions and ambitions. To try, to experiment, to discover. Independence is the driving force for the new.
Embracing our Independence
Everyone at Mr. President is fiercely independent. Sitting brazenly across the expected categorisations of the industry. We stand by our belief in our teams to produce beautifully crafted films for The Body Shop in the same week that we build NFC technology into mustard tasting spoons for Unilever.
We have an uncommon ambition to not do what we can do, but to discover what we should do. This is what makes us take real responsibility for our client’s challenges. And believe us, responsibility is everything. When every single member of the team owns a stake in the agency, you can’t help but take every brief personally. Their success is our own individual and collective success.
We don’t even look like the conventional agency. We’ve already out-performed the IPA’s 2020 diversity goals of 40% female and 15% black, Asian and minority-ethnic representation in senior positions. To do different you need to be different.
Our parents may not understand what on earth we are doing, but they are very proud of the results.
Everyone prefers an independent
We aren’t the only ones embracing our independence. From the craft beer we drink to the local shops we frequent, independence is the defining trend of our age.
There is an unstoppable tide of desire in people to find real craft again, real care, skill and service. To support the people doing it for the right reasons. The ones who genuinely understand their customers and are driven to do the right thing by them.
It is only in adland that we see the opposite move towards consolidation. To the big networks gobbling up specialist shops and innovative talent. All with the intent of offering an oxymoron of globalised, corporate, one-stop shop creativity.
The parents are asking the kids to move back in and expecting them to still develop along their own paths. This is what stifles progression.
Be free from dependence
This is the thrill of being an independent creative agency. No longer dependent on the safe but cloying blanket of a parent company. No one to control what we spend, no one to impose structure upon us, no one to approve of our friends, no one to tell us what to do because that’s how it was done in their day.
We are solely dependent on proving the worth of our ideas to our clients, not on proving to the industry that we are still relevant.
In a world of opportunity, we must focus on we what we should do, not what we can do. For that, you can depend on Mr. President.