An Interview with Lionel Carreon


This is a great quote from an insightful interview with Lionel Carreon, senior creative recruiter at AKQA (full interview here):

What do you see over and over in portfolios that makes you cringe?
Thankfully, there isn’t much that is consistently cringe-worthy, apart from the occasional misguided idea. What I have noticed is that digital components have become as much a checklist item just like a TV spot or a print ad. They are often included in student campaigns for the sake of having them, often without any relevancy to the overall brand message and lacking any true innovation or stokes of genius. Two years ago it was an iPhone app, last year it was Twitter, this year Foursquare.

Very relevant to what I often see in my portfolio development class as well. Especially when it comes to that final quarter, students are often looking to check boxes. If it’s not a great concept, it doesn’t belong in your book, period.

Last night in class, someone set up a concept with “This is a Facebook idea.” Alarm bells went off right then. If you’re not setting up the idea with an insight about the brand and/or consumer, you should ask yourself if there is an idea. I heard the same theme consistently from speakers at Cannes this year: TECHNOLOGY IS NOT AN IDEA.

I completely understand the need and want to show that you are up on the latest technology, but without a relevant idea, it’s nothing. Ironically, agencies often do the exact same thing when they pitch new business–at the last second, they’ll say, “Shit! What’s our Twitter idea? We need a Twitter idea!” No, you don’t. You need a good idea, and maybe Twitter will be the best way to bring it to life.