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David Droga: Bring on ad blockers

Hegarty and Droga at Cannes

Hegarty and Droga at Cannes

Dave Droga said today that technology that blocks ads is a good thing for the industry, as it cuts out poor advertising and forces creatives to produce better work.

The founder of ad hot shop Droga5 and one of the most awarded creatives in the history of Cannes, likened ad blockers to restraining orders for criminals, and said that the need for the technology showed that consumers regard advertising as invasive.

“Bring on ad blockers,” he said.

He also hit out at pre-roll advertising on video sites such as YouTube.

“It makes me so sad. It just means that we’re nothing more than an annoyance.”

Droga said the industry needed to get better at producing inspiring work that people find entertaining and useful.

Part of the problem, he said, came from the way the industry has been run.

“As an industry, we haven’t been led by inspiring people, we’ve been led by bankers,” Droga said.

Droga was sharing a stage at the Cannes Lions with Sir John Hegarty, founder of ad agency BBH.

Both men lambasted the “vanilla” of global advertising trying to impact behaviour with homogenous work.

Hegarty also warned creatives are moving “too close to clients” warning it made them “in danger of thinking like them”, although Droga stressed it is important for people working on business to have an understanding of what that business is about.

On the issue of declining creativity Droga said: “We’re an industry of tour guides, 90 per cent talk about shit that other people did. Then there’s the fighters, those who fight the good fight and get in the trenches. I’m just tenacious and simple and that’s what moves me and motivate me.”

Both men also had strong words on an increasing reliance on data, with Droga saying agencies which were coming up with “shiny new” data products did so because they were were not creative.

Mobile advertising was singled out by Droga as the biggest issue facing the industry, saying: “Someone’s got to crack mobile. Bad advertising online is shit, bad advertising on mobile is offensive.

“It’s the most intimate thing which is why it’s the holy grail, so why would they bother to engage with you. Make it rewarding. Great storytelling is never going to disappear, lots of moving parts doesn’t make something more interesting but if it accentuates an idea then that’s good.”

Droga was also pressed on last year’s sale of 49 per cent of Droga5 to entertainment agents William Morris Endeavour, saying he did not want to sell to a holding company “and become one card in the deck”.

Describing the deal as being “about influence” he added: “We’re in the business of influence and I want to be in business who have access to people with amazing influence. They have a hand on 50 per cent of all TV shows produced in America and lectures and music.”

He said they had taken six months to adjust to each other, and now “have work in the pipeline”.

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