The altering function of the advert company CCO

ECD, CCO, CEO, COO: the ad industry is awash in three-letter jobs. But beyond the acronyms, what is the role of senior teams in shaping creative work and establishing agency culture today? BBH’s Alex Grieve and Helen Rhodes discuss

Adland is known for its big characters – larger than life creative figures who bring flair and vision to work, and shape the reputation and personality of their agency. Or so it used to be. According to Alex Grieve, newly appointed global and London chief creative officer at BBH, the creative industry is moving beyond these clichés, and thankfully so.

“It’s like all stereotypes,” he says. “It wasn’t universally true, but there were a lot of people like that. You felt that you had to shape your work to their tastes if you had any chance of getting things through…. I’ve heard it said a lot: where are the big characters of advertising these days? But I’m not a big character. I’m quite quiet. And the trouble with a lot of these big characters is they were twats.”

Grieve believes that the ‘if you’re not coming in on Saturday don’t bother coming in on Monday’ mentality is well past its sell-by date and no longer landing with creatives – if it ever really did. Instead, he believes CCOs have a duty to set the stage and create the conditions for teams to feel happy expressing themselves.

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