David Droga on why he is still optimistic about advertising

“Linear and logical people make the world go round, but it’s the creative people who make it worth living in."
david droga

From the moment advertising maverick David Droga stepped onto stage, the Design Indaba audience was tuned in to every word he spoke. He is the founder of the award-winning agency Droga5, which was recently acquired by Accenture Interactive.

Droga took the audience on a journey of outstanding creative work and the power of ideas to evoke emotion and impact.

“In our industry people talk about the word disruption but I say bullshit to disruption. I don't want to be a disruptor. I don't want to interrupt anybody in anything I want to do stuff that people seek out and appreciate,” he explains.

For Droga it's important to create with the objective of making impact. In some of his most recent projects he has made that a focal point.

The creative mind showcased this in three projects he completed in the last 12 months, including a deconstruction of the New York Times, an open-minded ad for celebrated American brand Nordstrom and a star-studded Australian tourism campaign.

Only Droga and his team could get some of Australia's best actors to come on site at no cost and produce a movie-like trailer that got the world talking. “When you have an idea that people want to be a part of it’s mutually beneficial,” he says.

The campaign was a huge success as Droga created hype and speculation surrounding the rouse. According to Droga the ad doubled tourism revenue in Australia in the last year.

Another campaign Droga delved into was the multiple-platform campaign for the iconic New York Times. In this he and his team created a new platform called The Truth is Worth it, to hone in on what it takes to get to the headlines using real audio, footage and photos.

 “The Truth is Worth It campaign reminds people what goes into real stories and real journalism.The NY Times means a lot to me and anyone who gives a shit about real journalism. Journalism is under attack and NY Times is one of the most important news organizations in the world,” explains Droga.

The campaign focused on various topics including Trump's taxes, ISIS and immigration just to name a few.

“What's amazing from this campaign it's such church and state between the newsroom and the marketing department. It's the first time they’ve actually came together because we’re not trying to trample on anything they do,” says Droga on the process.

He added: “It did wonders for their business and their business is up for the first time in 20 years digitally and subscription-wise,” says Droga.

Droga revealed that people had a positive response to the campaign. “People want to get behind things that have belief systems,” he says.

For Droga the ad was all about showcasing the partnership between him and clients to create something that's not been done before even if the client is hesitant about his creative process.

“I always say to all our clients ‘you pay us to not agree with you, you pay us to have an opinion.’ You don't have to take my opinion but I’m always going to give you my opinion,” he explains.  

Through showcasing the work of his agency, Droga drove the immense value of creativity, particularly in these turbulent times we’re in. Though technology has changed the game, it’s given him impetus to create better and smarter.

“As the world gets automated...and the jobs start disappearing…the one thing that’s gonna be hard to get rid of is the original thinkers,” he says.

It’s the kind of optimism the advertising industry, and even the world, needs now.

He ended off with a welcome vote of confidence to the creators: “Linear and logical people make the world go round, but it’s the creative people who make it worth living in. And that’s the world I wanna be in.”

Watch more: 

Wanuri Kahiu on using film to talk about African as joyful and radiant

Dan Wieden on why Wieden+Kennedy will never sell out

Keith Rose on advertising's golden years