I’ve been talking to Clay Mills about some of his achievements as the CEO of Wieden+Kennedy here in Amsterdam. We finished our coffees and started walking in the direction of the W+K office that is situated on one of the main canals.
“What gets you out of bed in the morning?” I ask him.
Clay pauses before answering the question.”I still have a lot to learn and to prove to myself. Plus, I want to add something to society… which isn’t always easy in the field I work in.
“Advertising is such a pervasive part of our lives: the average individual in Western society is bombarded with hundreds of adverts a day – billboards, TV commercials, internet ads, mobile ads, magazine ads…”
We continue walking along the 17th century warehouses where numerous creative agencies are based.
“But advertising is also part of popular culture; a mode of socialisation, telling us how to think and feel, what’s hip, what’s sexy. And it’s how you tap into that. In the creative industry, we’re able to tell stories that become part of popular culture. That’s why it’s essential we add to that culture rather than pollute it.
“At the moment we’re working with a NGO that empowers young women worldwide to exercise their rights through sports. We achieve this by strengthening their communication and negotiation skills. By telling stories such as this, I feel I’m adding something to society. And it’s immensely rewarding.
“By telling these stories I feel that I’m adding something to society.”
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