Volvo's epic split film is hotly tipped to win a Grand Prix or two at Cannes this year.

Interestingly, it was made without the involvement of a Creative Director.

The agency behind it, Sweden's Forsman & Bodenfors, doesn't have them.

I've written previously about how - in a world of crumbling margins - agencies need to become leaner. By far our biggest cost is staff, so my suggestions included fusing Art Directors & Copywriters, or Suits & Planners.

Perhaps self-interestedly, I didn't think about abolishing Creative Directors.

But could we? They're a huge cost, after all.

At first sight, it seems like we'd be losing a hell of a lot. After all, someone has to make the decision about what work to present. And in the absence of a CD, I guess it would be the senior Suit & Planner on an account who would decide. Most of the time this would probably work okay. But I've known plenty of CD's who had an almost supernatural ability to spot potential in an idea when no one else did.

Also, the senior Suit & Planner would probably be the people shaping the work. Again, most of the time this would probably be fine. But as before, I've known plenty of CD's who have the ability to push work to a level beyond what anyone else thought was possible.

So how do F&B manage without CD's, given my predictions of the effect that removing CD's would have on a typical agency process? Answer: they don't have a typical agency process. At all.

There's an interesting article about how they work here. If you don't have time to read the whole thing, here's the key bit: 

"The process by which people view and critique work is called 'the floor' — a holdover from the days when Forsman & Bodenfors was mainly making print ads, which could easily be spread out on the floor for people to see. You bring in at least five employees not attached to the project to go over the work and ask questions. It is the duty of these people to have an opinion of the work and openly express it, without holding anything back. They must ask questions about the work, questions they could envision the client or the general public asking about the direction. On the other side, the creators of the work must be open-minded, and although the ultimate decision of what to present to the client falls on their shoulders, they generally accept the critiques of their peers and go back to improve the work before presenting it to the clients."


So what do you think? CD's out?


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