In this episode of the Cannes Series, Paul Holmes interviews James Ferber, executive creative director at the recently rebranded MMC. Ferber and Holmes met beachside during the festival to discuss creativity in earned media, Ferber’s take on the defining traits of winning work, and the agency’s rebrand. A few highlights from the episode are shared below. 

On Rebranding MMC

Ferber: "Marina founded it [MMC] as the first agency truly focused on marketing to women, which to me absolutely is an act of disruption. And when I think about some of the iconic, the truly, truly iconic campaigns to come out of the agency over the course of the years, for me, I always loved the Great American Try-On or very famously the first ever Cover Boy for Cover Girl. These were inherently acts of disruption, whether or not we were calling them that at the time or not. So it felt like a moniker that certainly fit." 

Rigor and Approach in PR vs. Advertising

Ferber: “You need more people to create effective work because of how hyper specialized some of this ends up becoming. And we've now been able to grow a generation of creative talent within the agency who are thinking earned first, and it's the only thing they've ever known. So now we have people with that same sort of rigor, that same training and backgrounds that you might see within the advertising industry, but they're applying it purely within PR with incredible results."

On Earned-First Creative

Ferber: “At MMC, one of things that we love to employ are non-traditional pairings of teams. I might have a copywriter working with an influencer strategist. I might have an earned media person working with an art director. We're still leveraging that… same thing behind the advertising creative model, but we're doing it with people who are more relevant to the actual ecosystem of PR and social media.”

Subtle Successes

Ferber: “Some of my favorite and perhaps most creative ideas that I've come up with since moving over to MMC are things that no one will ever know about. And that is exactly why I know they were successful, right? Crisis communications actually can be a fascinating place to be applying creativity. And I think the way that I try to view this overall and the way that we as an agency really approach creativity is the notion of creating creative solutions to tangible business problems."

The PRovoke Media Podcast is produced by Markettiers.

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