The Resilience of Television

David Perry is a class act. For 24 years he has been Head of Broadcast Production at Saatchi New York, living the Nothing Is Impossible spirit with a generous manner and a ton of aesthetic sensibility. He is retiring at the end of July and handing the reins to his protégé John Doris, young but with a 12 year Saatchi record in London and New York already under his belt. David has been giving valedictory interviews and two paragraphs in SHOOT stood out for me. The first quote runs the risk of both David and I looking dinosauristic in this era of point and click, but in a week when the Wall St Journal runs the headline “Tribune Pours Money into TV”, what the hell:

“I love the resilience of TV. All the cool people have been trying to kill it for 15 years. They sell against it. It is one directional. It is a lean-back medium. But it is still where most of the media money gets spent. And all those storytelling skills we developed for TV are perfect for mobile and tablets and rich Web content. Video is still the only way to engage people emotionally. I love and respect digital media but I never saw a website that made me cry. I never downloaded an app that stirred my emotions. TV and video are still where you engage people emotionally, as human beings. Ten years ago, I thought I would get overwhelmed by all the new media. Now I realize that what I have been doing my entire career is dead center where the business is today. Everything has changed. Nothing has changed.”

See my book SISOMO: the future on screen for more thinking about the power of story brought to life with sight, sound and motion. David’s other quote is a message for clients who still believe in selling by yelling:

“I’d like to start a movement for self-control and moderation in advertising. There is no getting away from us. There is no place to hide that we can’t find you. There is no turning us off. We have invaded every device a person can own. We are everywhere because we can be. We see a moment of silence or a screen without a message as missed opportunities. We would be much more welcome, and our ideas better understood if we occasionally pass up the opportunity to be in people’s faces. A little bit less can be a whole lot more.”

David spent half his career with Saatchi; expect more from him. As he said to Adweek, “I’m leaving while I’ve still got my energy and enthusiasm. I’m retiring from Saatchi but I’m not moving to Florida.”

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Kevin Roberts

Kevin Roberts is founder of Red Rose Consulting; business leader and educator; author and speaker; adviser on marketing, creative thinking and leadership.


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