DDB’s Keith Reinhard on creative leadership

DDB’s Keith Reinhard on creative leadership

I’m so lucky to be working with the amazing Keith Reinhard next week at the Cannes Lions Festival of Creativity 2016.

Keith is Chairman emeritus of DDB, and one of the original ‘madmen’. I was fortunate enough to meet Keith on the first Masters of Creativity week long workshop at Cannes last year, which is running again this year, and I’m mentoring the 50 or so delegates on the course. Mondelez has provided the brief which is to promote the Swedish Fish sweet brand.

Contagious interviewed Keith on the topic of creative leadership – one he is super-qualified to talk about having moved through the ranks from copyrighter to Chairman at DDB  creating, famous, award-winning work including Budweiser’s Wassup? campaign.

In relation to leading teams for creativity, Keith says there are “4 freedoms” in play at DDB that were written in the 1980’s, and still hold true today.

Creative leadership is possible when you allow freedom:

  1. …from fear, “because management by intimidation has no place in a creative organisation.”
  2. …to fail – “if we’re going to ask our creative people to explore untrodden territory, they might not always succeed, so we have to grant them the freedom to fail if they are to get anywhere.”
  3. ….from chaos –  “when management says one thing and does another, or there are lots of closed door meetings, or memos without any real understanding as to why such a dictum was issued.”
  4. …simply to be. “as a group we are more effective and more interesting because of our diversity.”

Contagious also interviewed David Droga, founder of his eponymous agency, Droga 5, which won many awards at Cannes in 2015, and is set to do the same this year. We were lucky enough to also have Droga in our classroom last summer in an intimate workshop masterclass of just 40 or so delegates to hear what he had to say on creativity. On the subject of creative leadership he told Contagious: “Being a creative leader, as opposed to being a CEO, you have to deal a lot more in the subjective. You have to be more in touch with the emotional side of things, beyond just the confidence and the visionary side of things. So much of what we’re doing in creative is subjective, and you’re dealing with things that are fragile and exciting.”

I’m looking forward to learning from all the amazing speakers in the classroom this year and being part of the whole crazy, inspiring experience that is Cannes!

You can read the full Contagious article with Keith on creative leadership here.

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