What an inspiring event it was. Here are the insights we took home. The first key note speaker, Ed Ulbrich from Digital Domain, talked us through the process of getting the multi-platform remake of Tron to market. He showed what looked like a trailer of the movie ‘Tron Legacy’, but later revealed it was ‘just’ a teaser to get Disney excited; they could make a movie, a game and a theme park ride out of this single concept. He called this a ‘transmedia content prototype’; a piece of content that mitigates the investor’s risk, because it provides a tangible window into the opportunities of the concept. Ulbrich founded a company, Mothership, that single mindedly builds these kind of prototypes.
In a way Philips’s brand new commercial ‘Parallel Lines’, is also a content prototype, as Ed Ulbrich mentioned during the presentation by Gary Raucher – head of MarCom at Philips – and DDB’s Neil Dawson and Caspar Delaney. The parallel lines are 5 short films telling the same story about a unicorn. The pay-off: ‘There are millions of ways to tell a story. There’s only one way to watch one’. Why not test these short films and see which one can make it into a blockbuster, asked Ulbrich. By doing so Philips could seriously and convincingly enter the realm of branded content – a revolutionary thought. Though Raucher told the audience last year’s multi-prize-winning commercial Carousel had completely changed Philips’ attitude towards advertising, making blockbusters might be one bridge too far.
Our favourite speaker of the day was Cindy Gallop. With great enthusiasm she talked about the future of advertising, while at the same time promoting her new internet start up ‘If we ran the world’ – connecting people social-media-wise with their actions rather than their conversations. As for the future advertising model, Gallop believes in total transparency and the power of the collaborative creative crowd. Victor & Spoils, combining these two elements, is therefore the perfect example of the agency of the future, she said. It is always difficult to say whether these absolute statements about the ‘future of …’ will proof right or wrong, but it is undeniably true that the creative industry shouldn’t neglect the power of collaborative creativity. Gallop ended her energetic talk with a website we all should check out: Textfromlastnight.com. Why? It’s hilarious, it’s contemporary poetry – with a maximum of 140 characters – and it’s a social cultural snapshot of our time. Amen!
Richard Gorodecky of Amsterdam Worldwide (AW) also talked about the perfect agency model – in our opinion a more realistic one. It was his own model; AW consists of a team of generalists and whenever needed it hires the required specialists. As a generalist, Gorodecky explained, you are ignorant. But the advantage of being ignorant is venturing into areas where specialized agencies don’t go. In other words; ‘ignorance gives you a license to experiment’.
Seyoan Vela provoked the crowd in a funny way by stating that positivity sucked. People like to complain (“social media are a threat rather than an opportunity!”), so why not approach them accordingly. Take W+K’s Grrrr for Honda, (“Can hate be good?”) one of the best commercials ever made. Vela ended his entertaining talk with the statement that ‘brands don’t t need to be your friends’.
The day ended with Andy Fackrell (180), Gustav Martner (CP+B), Sean Boyle (JWT), Karen Corrigen (Hapiness), Nick Baley (AKQA), John Weich (Lemon Scented Tea) and Jeff Kling (W+K) answering the question ‘How can advertising improve the world’ in a Pecha Kucha style. Though after a long day if felt a bit as an information overload, it proved to be a great format to get the most out of these brilliant minds – this is probably how the creative briefing was invented.
Andy Fackrell kicked off showing many different famous people who could do a 180 turn with their brain. Karen Corrigan (“In Belgium I am known as a very stubborn woman”) ignored the Pecha Kucha briefing and talked (for too long) about the Belgium agencies jointly stepping up to clients not respecting the local pitch code – a familiar problem – by organizing a successful website strike. Gustav Martner had a less practical idea to handle difficult clients; he fantasized about ways to have advertisers pitch for agencies and charge them for a bigger logo in the ad. Sean Boyle made a brilliant point about the culture within big networking agencies (“except JWT” – tone of voice: ironic); everyone listens to the brainless arse lickers, instead of the independent minds with genuinely creative ideas. Nick Baley showed female art to substantiate his sympathetic plead for more women in advertising. John Weich’ presentation was so smart that we couldn’t keep up with him. And, finally, Jeff Kling ended the way he started the day, with his somewhat cynical, but smart sense of humour. How can advertising improve the world? “Know when to shut the fuck up.”