Yesterday a student of mine asked a simple, but great question. “Why should we care about the tech side of things in advertising?”
A little background here… our advertising class is working with computer science students on a mobile web app project. It has been a goal of mine for a few years to start to incorporate the development side more into the strategy side of communications. This happens in the “real world,” but more often then not things are handed off for development. Magic occurs. A website/software/app appears. Two separate worlds exist, similar to the old model of account and creative departments. A more integrated approach both in higher education as well as the industry has the opportunity to see some amazing products be developed.
Advertising agencies are integrating more disciplines into the creative process. This pushes communication ideas further, but must also include creative uses of media. This can only happen with developers in the mix. With numerous vehicles to communicate with audiences this may come in the form of a print ad or a mobile app or a Facebook game or interactive display or something that is yet to be created. Having tech professionals at the table earlier can benefit a project and the resulting interactions will educate the entire group. Ultimately, this would raise the level of future ideas and technologies used in campaigns.
So my answer to the student: If a tech professional can be integrated into the process early their ideas can contribute to the development of tools that could better communicate a client’s message. The variety of new technologies out there require new perspectives in the process. This may end up being a new “breed” of art/creative director, but in the meantime the more the account side, designers and developers interact with each other the better the ideas.
A colleague of mine, Matt Waite, is also addressing similar issues on the journalism side of the college where we both work. We are both actively pursuing projects that bring, what he calls, a “tech swagger” to the students.
Along this same discuss is a great video discussing what this process might look like.
This direction and line of thinking will help students prepare for future jobs as well as shape how the industry addresses new challenges with technology.