Continuing with the series on the “State of the Creative,” we reached out Chief Creative Officers at some of the world’s leading ad agencies on: What it means to be a creative in today’s world? How many “legs” does an idea have to have when advertisers and marketers are targeting various demographics, each using multiple media devices and social media platforms? And does having all that data mean you or anyone else knows how to use it?




I sat down with Tor Myhren, Chief Creative Officer at GREY, to discuss the state of the creative today.

In this new era of data and technology, what has been the fundamental change for creatives?

Broader thinking and a better grasp of the way people are interacting with the different forms of digital media. It was simpler for creatives when it was just television, radio, and print. We all knew exactly how people used those media forms. Now in order to really talk to someone, you need to fully understand the way in which they are engaging with these different media forms. It’s way more challenging and interesting now than it was then.

What does it mean to be a creative today?

The same thing it has always meant. In our business, anyone who can creatively solve business or world problems is a “creative.” To draw huge divides between the creative department and other departments is old school, because the business challenges we’re facing now are so much more holistic. So everyone in the agency better be a creative thinker today.

How important is it for a creative to understand data?

It is important that we all understand the way people engage with the digital space. As for understanding data, as long as we can read reports and know whether we’re reaching people and connecting with people, that’s the most important thing.

Is it harder to be a creative in today’s world?

It’s absolutely harder, and one hundred times more interesting. There is no better time to be a creative person in the business world than right now. All creative industries, from music to Hollywood to tech to marketing, are merging. And, I believe our business is at the nexus of this convergence. We are collaborating in radical, unbelievable ways and we’re sitting right in the middle of it all.

In the market today, what does it mean to be the best, and what does it take?

The best in our industry are brilliant story tellers. That will never change. If you can get people to engage with a story, you win. And if you can get people to talk about that story, and pass it around, than that story becomes part of the cultural conversation – and that’s the Holy Grail in our business.

What is the coolest object in your office?

When you walk into our lobby there’s a message written on the wall in soft pink paint that says “Driver, surprise me.” It reminds us every day what we’re trying to do at GREY.