BEVERLY HILLS: Advertising is entering a "platinum age" characterized both by unparalleled opportunity and unprecedented complexity, according to John Hayes, the chief marketing officer of American Express.

Hayes told delegates at the Transformation 2014 conference organized by the 4A's (the American Association of Advertising Agencies) that the ad industry was embarking on a new era.

"We're entering, dare I say, the platinum age of advertising," he said during a keynote presentation. (For more, including why interpretation drives innovation, read Warc's exclusive report: Rediscovering the lost art of interpretation: Insights from American Express.)

He added: "We're on the cusp of greatness and opportunity like we've never seen before."

In elaborating on the possibilities open to brands and agencies today, Hayes pointed to the enhanced ways they can reach consumers.

"With things like social media, we're giving agencies carte blanche to execute creative and produce media formats of a length that were unheard of less than a decade ago," he said.

"You want to make a 98-second commercial? Go for it. Put it on YouTube. If it's as good as you think, you've got it made. If it's not, you'll know right away."

Further options include anything from adding six-second clips to Vine to distributing images that "self-destruct" on Snapchat, the mobile messaging app.

However, Hayes also warned there was a flipside to the undoubted positives embodied by the "interconnected multi-device world" – namely, that complexity has increased substantially.

"Navigating in today's world has gotten dramatically more challenging. When it comes to the selection of delivery media, the world is staggering and complex," said Hayes.

And for all the changes facing marketers, it is clear that their fundamental task remains the same – that is, the "creation of demand and desire to ignite growth" for products and services.

Data sourced from Warc