Forget Sustainability; The Future Of Everything–Even Advertising–Depends On Fast Adapting

Dennis Ryan, Olson, AdvertisingIn this month’s issued of Wired, Andrew Zolli presents a very compelling case for emphasizing resilience instead of sustainability. He views sustainability as impractical given that stasis is totally counter to the natural order. By contrast, emphasizing resilience helps people deal with disruption and volatility. For instance, instead of building a seawall in a Quixotic attempt to staunch the surge of the next monster hurricane, Zolli suggests developing infrastructure that is lighter weight, more portable and redundant cutting down response times and helping the system self repair. Given our Congress’ shameful impotence on providing relief for Hurricane Sandy victims, that makes a lot of sense.

Resilience also makes sense for advertising.  Back in the early 90’s, everyone in Chicago talked about how Ted Bell “…had a standing army of 500 creatives at Y&R.” This legend was spoken in hushed tones, a paean to omnipotent firepower.

Which seems quaint now. Successful creative brand stewardship comes down to casting, not staffing; clients need the right minds, not simply a lot of them. Too many inputs overwhelm the system and slow things down–it’s all about faster, leaner, responsiveness.

Successful advertising really is all about resilience.


By Dennis Ryan, CCO, Olson


And in advertising, no one can deny these are volatile, disruptive times. Zolli’s

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