DENTSU CREATIVE releases the results of its annual survey of CMOs

Published on:

‘The Power of Modern Creativity: Insights for Today and Tomorrow’ report from DENTSU CREATIVE unpacks results from survey of CMOs in the UK, US, China, India, and Brazil, asking what they need and want most from their agencies... 

  • The report identifies eight key themes that define the future of modern creativity, and what clients most want from their agencies  
  • 85% of clients agree that while consumer behaviour has undergone rapid changes in the last 5 years, the agency model is yet to adapt. 78% say that the silo-ed agency model is no longer fit for purpose in today’s world. 
  • Clients are seeking a new agency model, where creativity is a horizontal not a vertical, with 82% agreeing they “want to see creative solutions across every aspect of my business - Media, Commerce and CXM - just as much as in campaigns” 
  • India is the market where CMOs are most likely to have invested in creating their own TV programming.
  • China and India dominate for the creation of Branded Entertainment and IP, with 53% of CMOs in these markets investing here, while China is the global leader in creating Branded Characters and IP. 

DENTSU CREATIVE has released the results of its annual survey of CMOs in the UK, US, China, India, and Brazil,
providing a stark insight into what today’s clients need and want most from their agencies. The data shows clients’ belief that while consumer behaviour has changed significantly, the agency model is yet to respond, and their frustration with agency silos. 78% of CMOs feel that the silo-ed agency model is no longer fit for purpose while 82% want to see agencies seamlessly combine capabilities to deliver new and innovative solutions, greeing “I want to see creative solutions across every aspect of my business- Media, Commerce and CXM - just as much as in campaigns.”   

When asked what is needed to engage the next generation of consumer, 63% of CMOs say that brands need to create rather than borrow from culture. The vast majority, at 84%, believe that to connect with younger generations brands now need to “entertain and engage” to earn attention through entertainment properties or
rich virtual experiences, most importantly, they believe that connecting the right diverse talent around their challenges, regardless of silos or geographies is the only way to deliver work that will resonate in culture.  

Hungry for change, today’s CMOs agree that in today’s connected world traditional scale is no longer the advantage it once was.  85% of clients agree there should be a more intelligent way to scale for a sustainable world, while 76% simply want their agencies to connect the right talent around the right brief, regardless of where it sits. Diverse creative talent is seen by CMOs as a key enabler of modern creativity, with an agreement that difference of thought and background can yield the strongest work. Today’s clients demand that agency teams should reflect the diversity of the modern world.  

In June of this year, DENTSU CREATIVE announced the coming together of its diverse creative agencies under a single banner, connecting core skills in brand and experience with modern capabilities in entertainment, earned and experience and reflecting the network’s commitment to a new and modern vision for creativity. Creativity that creates culture, changes society and invents new possibilities.

The full report can be accessed via this link.  

Fred Levron, Global Chief Creative Officer, dentsu International said, “We introduced DENTSU CREATIVE to the world in the belief that clients want something new and different. That they are tired of artificial silos and complexity and seeking modern, integrated creativity. This survey showed that today’s CMO’s are with us all the way on that. They don’t want creativity to stay in its swim lane, they want to see creativity across every aspect of their business-across media and CXM just as much as campaigns and content. That’s why we designed Dentsu Creative not only to bring together our amazing capabilities in entertainment, experience, storytelling and innovation but to integrate seamlessly with our Media and CXM businesses. Clients are asking agencies to create culture, to invent new possibilities, to help reshape society and we care ready to deliver this.”

Patricia McDonald, Chief Strategy Officer, DENTSU CREATIVE added, “Today’s CMOs are asking agencies to stop lagging behind and start leading again.  Our study confirms that today’s CMOs believe in the power of modern creativity to engage a new generation of consumers. They are asking their agency partners to think beyond legacy silos and bring the right talent around the table to deliver ideas big enough to live anywhere, bold enough to chart new executional territory and rich enough to make personal connections with millions of customers around the world. That requires us to connect our core skills in strategy and brand building with the ability to execute anywhere from  gaming to entertainment, culture to commerce.” 

Amit Wadhwa, CEO, DENTSU CREATIVE India commented, “We all know that the business landscape is rapidly changing and so are the expectations from agencies on how and what we deliver. It’s extremely essential for all of us to be in tune with the requirements and expectations in this changing environment. With this very objective, the CMO survey was conducted. What really excites me is that the responses augur extremely well for the direction we took when we launched DENTSU CREATIVE based on the philosophy of Modern Creativity. Excited with the way we are moving ahead.” 

Eight key themes identified and unpacked in the report: 


Today’s clients reject artificial divisions and binaries, seeking simple but powerfully integrated solutions to
their problems. 73% of marketers agree that the modern comms landscape, and by extension their roles, have become increasingly complex.


Investment in gaming, virtual technologies and social commerce continues as clients believe the online space is where their most meaningful customer interactions take place. 84% agree that an online store should feel as immersive as an offline store. 


The big organising idea is more important than ever but today big ideas must be executed in bold new ways, to
connect in personal, contextually relevant ways. 84% agree that Modern Creativity creates culture, it doesn’t just interrupt.  


Delivering Modern Creativity means rejecting traditional silos and traditional definitions of scale, using data
and technology to nimbly connect the right talent around the right brief. 76% want agencies to connect the
right talent around the right brief, wherever it sits in their networks.


CMOs across the globe are investing in content marketing, entertainment and IP as never before, building their own audiences and creating their own properties. 84% of respondents are implementing or have implemented Entertainment platforms and IP as a strategy.


To thrive in the modern world, networks must embrace creativity across every touchpoint; content to commerce,
media to CXM. Creativity is no longer a vertical or discipline but a horizontal. 82% want to see creative solutions
across media, commerce and CRM, just as much as in campaigns.


CMOs speak with one voice on the vital importance of using their platform for good and the imperative to pivot
their business model in response to the climate crisis. 84% agree that real change is only possible through sustained collaboration between businesses, consumers and policy makers. 


Designing for the modern world means investing in teams that reflect the modern world. Today’s agencies must embrace difference as the only true way to deliver work that makes a difference.95% agree that it is a brand’s
responsibility to change behaviour and change society.