Jay Chiat famously said 'good enough is not enough', however as an industry we've often been guilty of using this to justify big-budget production to cover up for a lack of actual substance.
I posted recently on how employing the correct etiquette for each media is going to change the requirements of agencies and Creative Directors alike. Pressure on budgets in the midst of recession, but also the rise of social media which may inadvertently be turning the focus of the work back on to what really matters. Getting back to the 'substance' of genuine connection and involvement first, rather than relying on the 'style' of big-budget indulgent and over-wrought production.
The practical impact of this can be found in a couple of posts which highlight the changing expectations and demands of digital work.
BBH Labs posed this question recently asking is this leading to a dearth of great interactive work, and followed it up with a summary of their 10 reasons why.
One comment in particular noted that microsites tend to deliver most creative awards. I'm not sure if this is completely true, but it wouldn't really be any surprise, that the key generator of awards comes from work that allows creative agencies to flex their creative muscles, free to use all the tools at their disposal in an owned media space they control completely.
Microsites don't need to fight for attention in the same way, as you see it you’ve already made the choice to visit, but in many cases we're probably kidding ourselves on that this stuff actually makes much of an impact.
Brian Morrissey in Ad Age also picked up on how the awards circuit has driven this trend;
Those concerns still matter in an industry where creatives are frequently judged based on the awards their work has won."
The main thrust of his article however concentrates on how agencies are adopting a more lo-fi approach to creating work. High-profile production agencies such as Big Spaceship and Barbarian are all increasingly turning their hands to work that satisfies the desire to get people talking and involved first, rather than having movie style production values as their primary concern.
Ensuring we choose the right tool for the job is a much more sensible place to begin. Not only is a more practical and realistic approach more appropriate for such difficult financial times, but it should also increase the likelihood that genuine innovation will take place.
Quicker, faster, dirtier experimentation that has always gone on in the background can become the norm. We'll do the Russell Davies maxim justice if we 'start by assuming a media budget of zero, then put money behind what works', rather than falling back on bling as a short cut.