The first season of Spur, a video series designed to provoke and inspire the world of planning, has come to a close. The response has been massive: thousands of tweets, posts, and comments from all over the world. Thanks for watching and we hope the conversation continues. Stay tuned for the next Spur series, where we’ll explore a completely different topic or discipline.

Here is a highlight of the video responses we received from New York to Norway to Australia, Germany to Peru and back again. These include Aki Spicer, Director of Digital Strategy at Fallon, Barry Mowszowski, Senior Creative Strategist, Ogilvy, Sydney, Kenji Summers Digital Strategy, OMD, NY and Carito Kanashiro, Planning Director at Ogilvy in Peru.

And here is a recap of some of the discussion:

At the very outset, there was a heated discussion on AgencySpy, presumably amongst non-planners:

-- “If their work isn’t inspiring creatives with new perspectives or arming account people with sharp insights, they’re wasting their time. Which is what makes Spur and many other planning conferences so ridiculous: they’re composed entirely of planners. Planners should be working with creatives, account people, and clients not with lots and lots of other planners” drew on
-- “Planners were once called research. Planners were once called media. Planners were once called insight. Planners were once called engagement. Planners were once called innovative. Planners were once called planners.” ‘Forget about it’ on Agency Spy
-- “The industry is doomed... It’s amazing the silo structure continues to this day” Jackwhack on Agency Spy
-- “Planning is purely a way that agencies can charge for another ‘product’” jjkk on Agency Spy

Others were more hopeful:

-- “There is a powerful connection between planning and entrepreneurship. The evidence has been unfolding in post-Katrina New Orleans. By moving upstream into operations, development and investment, focusing on proof of concept, we've taken six early stage companies to national distribution. A 3 year head start on the recession? Contend that exiting from the global financial meltdown demands it.” Robbie at Trumpet Group on
-- “I think that planning is not impotent and that good planners want to impact business not the creative” jo_vanna on Twitter
-- “Inspirational is all I can say. For anyone seeking to get some insight into the forces guiding advertising, this can be used as the first step. Thanks.” Podratic, New York, on
-- “the future of the discipline: thinking together to act together” Anibal Casso on

Many viewers engaged with the central themes explored in the videos:

-- “The term ‘Research’ is wrongly synonymous with stifling creativity. Well presented research informs, inspires and holds brands accountable. “ Joe Johnson, commenting on
-- “Strategy is not the new creative. It’s simply the definition of strategy and creative and how both have to work together that has changed” Alexader Wipf, Leo Burnett, Frankfurt, on
-- “Lovely little series but if I may be so bold I hope it forces planners to try some new approaches rather than trying some new stuff - because it appears to me the problem isn't in developing ideas, it's getting clients [and their agency partners] to buy” from ROB at Cynic on Brand New,
-- “Agency in competition with the client... That's a conversation all on it's own... nice.” Shauny1105 on
-- “agencies need to help brands to function as both enabler (of services, content, utility, entertainment) and filter (of noise, relevance, need) for people in order to have a role beyond passive loyalty. Brands not only need a position within a market/category but must also have a clear point of view their role in the world and as a contributer to the culture of their purchasers... Planning and strategy needs to be more about doing. It needs to be involved in collaborative agile scrums with creatives or technologists to help shape the structure and effectiveness of a response, not just had over a brief.” David J Carr on his

Mark Hancock, from London on wrote a post about planning convergence and several commenters referenced the Spur series.

It all started with his post: “we are now having to rethink the value planning can create because cultural and societal norms are being shaped by technology and measurable patterns of behavior are flowing through observable social networks which were previously hidden. Brands act like halos of associations that illuminate a company, product or service and most of these associations are increasingly being shaped by communities of human beings – not by agencies. As a result agencies are not entirely clear where they start and finish when it comes to owning the ‘brand’ or the ‘customer’ or whether they are even the same thing.

digitalinfant commented on “There's been some interesting discussions going on about the future of account planning. One that I have been recently following is a series done by Redscout. These discussions are necessary because the profession is always in "beta" … The planner is now taking a leading role on projects and usually displays an solid understanding of: information architecture / user experience, analytics, business analysis, competitive intelligence, requirements prioritization & roadmap development, brand marketing, strategy, emerging platforms, social media, product development and competitive intelligence.”

Bud Caddell responded: “perhaps the fact that we're underwhelmed with the resources native to the brand these days. If the brand is the foundation of the building, and the planner the vertical reinforcement, we seem to be arguing for all flying buttress and little else. Failed metaphor aside… Another take – is the future role of the planner such a generalist role? What happened to the symphony of specialists vision of the future? That would require a new type of framework, not a new kind of person

Mark said: “Great post. To Bud's point, the one thought it brings to mind is whether a single planner can do all this well. Why not a team of planners in the same way a team of creatives work”

Gennefer, Chief Creative Officer of Space Truffles Entertainment input: “I like to call it a 'brand conductor' trying to synthesize multiple touchpoints to create a symphony that harmoniously represents the brand and leaves an emotional impact on the consumers it touches in influencing behavior and action.

I use the term 'conductor' because agencies or strategists like myself are no longer driving the message, but helping to shape it, and like it or not, consumers are now part of that orchestra directly (and often, loudly) contributing to the composition (I usually make them the percussion section in this metaphor for obvious reasons).”

… and for others, we only reinforced planning stereotypes:
“Cool glasses? Check. English accent? Check. Must be a Planner.” Rick Liebling on EyeCube, (sorry Gareth!)

All in all, we hope the conversation continues. Have your say and look out for the next installment of Spur, presented by Redscout.


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