Hit the reset button! 2009/07/16 12:00:00 AM Tony Koenderman THE ADVERTISING WORLD has "hit the reset button on everything we do," says DDB chairman Bob Scarpelli, using online jargon for the structural shifts taking place in marketing communications. "We've started afresh on everything. None of the old categories apply any more. There's an increasing fuzziness of definition. The way advertising is going we could end up with a single award for the best idea." But everything is still judged in categories at awards shows such as Cannes. "So you don't get a sense of the totality. Two years ago TV commercials were seen as something different from Internet and mobile. Today, we're working at least four screens. We won an Emmy for a TV commercial only ever seen on the Internet." Scarpelli, the creative head, and president/CEO Chuck Brymer, are the force behind DDB Worldwide, the world's most successful award-winning agency in recent years. As two of the best thinkers in world advertising they make a formidable team. They talked to Finweek in Cannes. Under Scarpelli's creative leadership, DDB has won almost every advertising award there is. In 32 years at DDB he's created some of the world's most talked-about and awarded creative work, including Budweiser's "Whassup" campaign. But consumer motivation has changed in ways that are difficult to fathom, says Brymer, who outlined his "swarm theory" of consumer activation in a recent book, The Nature of Marketing. Thanks to the Internet, Brymer says, human beings act like swarms of ants or bees. A colony of a million will form complex and efficient super highways, prompted by a mysterious collective intelligence to flock to resources or flee from danger. Humans, who once socialised in small groups and watched TV for product information, are becoming a human swarm linked by digital social networks, following similar behavioural rules. Like their insect counterparts, highly connected human swarms move with lightning speed and flock to the same brands. Seeking best value, they check consumer ratings online or tap into favourite blogs and social networks, sharing information with perhaps 200 people a day. Marketing will never be the same again. So no surprise that DDB is investing heavily in new technologies. "But integration of old and new channels is crucial. Look how important TV was to achieve reach and impact for the Obama presidential campaign and convey the heroic nature of the product. A two-minute TV commercial was the campaign highlight." Technology has a long reach, notes Scarpelli. "The mobile phone will become the primary medium of communication and online access in the emerging world. In South Africa, as in India, slow broadband connections stimulate the advancement of mobile technologies. The world is opening up, borders coming down. There's no stopping it."