‘The Only Barrier is the Creative’s Imagination’ A Q&A with Branding Expert Greg Ricciardi

The role of advertising is changing. Consumers have more media options than ever before, and the acceleration of technology has changed how they interact with that media. Advertisers are working with these behavioral shifts, along with a crowded market and economic uncertainty, in their quest to engage consumers.

Good creative is paramount in this quest. But what does good creative look like? How does it work? How can they use tools like Creative Management Platforms and creative intelligence to execute their best ideas?

To get answers, Connected-Stories has turned to leaders across the advertising industry for their perspective.

Today we speak to Greg Ricciardi, the President and CEO of 20nine, an award-winning, purpose-first, creative brand agency.

  1. Tell us about your role and what you are working on today 

I am the President and CEO of 20nine, a purpose-first creative consultancy that works with both B2B and CPG brands in developing their brand strategy, story and market activation. I am also the President and CEO of Chronic, which is a brand agency focused specifically on the cannabis industry.

  1. How do you come across ad creatives in your line of work? 

As a consumer and a creative, I am inundated daily with brands vying for my attention. As a creative, I can’t help but critique and learn from how brands continue to find new and intriguing ways to connect with consumers. 

  1. How has creative changed since you’ve been working in advertising? 

That’s a loaded question. When I started in this industry I was cutting amberlith, actually setting type and looking at matchprints that came from film composites from offset printers. The internet was just beginning and social media did not exist. It’s interesting that 25 years ago, creative came from agencies and now creative is a collaborative effort between consumers, agencies, and brands, all actively working together to promote products and engage consumers. 

  1. What do you see in the near and distant future for ad creative? 

Ad creative is a fast moving evolution. New technologies, apps, streaming products are being introduced constantly and each one is redefining how ad creative is produced, shared and measured. I’m not sure I can answer this question any other way other than, I am very excited for what the future holds for creative.

  1. What do you see as the main barriers to realizing that future?

Privacy and consumer identity have played a major role in creating barriers around personalized engagement with consumers and how that is measured, but innovation continues in the space. I truly believe that the barriers only reside in the limitations of the current technology and the creators imagination.

  1. What is the most inspiring/notable creative you’ve seen recently? 

Two campaigns come to mind. The viral Smile campaign for the horror movie. So simple but effectively creepy. And an Adidas campaign showcasing breasts of all sizes. The strategy of an uncompromised celebration of women’s bodies and the honest representation that no one is created the same in a single campaign says a lot about the brand.

  1. What are you watching/reading these days?  

Just finished binge watching Modern Family (never saw it before, but couldn’t stop once I started) and now very much into Wednesday. Currently reading The Overstory by Richard Powers.