I’ve been talking to Clay Mills about some of his achievements as the CEO of Wieden+Kennedy here in Amsterdam. We finished our coffees and started walking in the direction of the W+K office that is situated on one of the main canals.
“What gets you up in the morning?” I ask him.
Clay pauses before answering the question. “I still have a lot to learn and to prove to myself.” He says. “And I want to add something to society, which is not always easy.”
He pauses again before continuing. “Advertising is a pervasive part of our life. The average individual in Western society is bombarded with several hundred adverts per day — billboards, TV commercials, Internet ads and magazine ads, and more. But advertising is also part of popular culture, a mode of socialization, telling us how to think and feel, what’s hip, what’s sexy.”
We continue walking and pass the house where Anne Frank wrote her diary about what happened to her and her family.
“Talking about authentic stories…” Clay says, pointing at the house. “In the creative industry we’re able to tell stories… and when we do it well, become part of popular culture. But what is important is to stay on the side of adding to culture instead of polluting it.”
“We’re working with a NGO which teaches adolescent girls worldwide to exercise their rights through sport. They do this by strengthen the communication and negotiation skills of those young women.”
“By telling these stories I feel that I’m adding something to society.”
Read more about Clay Mills
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