Neil Riley, Passion Pictures, showing how he built the animated characters for “UK Stadium”

Yesterday and the day before, we were invited to Craften, a spin-off from the craft festival Ciclope in Buenos Aires. The first edition of Craften, held at Muziekgebouw aan het IJ, brought together some of the most well crafted campaigns of the past year(s). Here’s a summary of the campaigns, learnings and trends we picked up during the incredibly inspiring conference. On Wednesday morning Jonas Keller from Jung von Matt, shared the making of “Invisible Drive” for Mercedes. Keep it simple and stupid, find the right partner (in this case Markenfilm Crossing), and always believe in your idea was Keller’s advice to the audience. Especially an important lesson when you’re building something for the first time.

In the afternoon RKCR Y&R shared the very cinematographic Virgin Atlantic film, “Flying in the face of ordinary,” produced by Partizan and MPC. Quite a costly production. Apart from the 8 days in Capetown to do various shoots in various landscapes (including an airport in operation), the post production only, incorporating all the ‘super hero’ effects, took a dozen people 16 days of work.

Neil Riley from Passion Pictures captivated the audience with the process of creating the animated characters in the impressive “UK Stadium” film for the BBC. The saying “nomen est omen” was written all over this animation studio; the passion for their craft surpassed a lack of budget. Which was necessary, since a mere 6 seconds of a swimmer in water took 8 weeks to build.

Another impressive technical feat was delivered by Tribal DDB and Stinkdigital with their “Obessed with sound” platform for Philips. Just like the Invisible Drive a very innovative piece of ad – a platform making all the different members of the Dutch Metropole Orchestra visible and audible in a very attractive way.

The last presentation of the first day was done by BBH, Ratling Stick, and The Mill. They explained how “Three Little Pigs” for The Guardian came into being. Davud Karbassioun from BBH started quoting John Hegarty by saying that 80% of advertising is idea, while 80% is execution. Indeed, a fantastic idea executed superbly. What was interesting about this case was that the real pig heads, inspired by the Royal Ballet, were very helpful for the post production, because it gives the animation software something to hold on to.

Thursday morning started with a lively discussion between Parasol Island, Media Monks, Unit 9, and Bacon de Czar about the trends in digital production. The main trends: mobile, film, browser-based experiences, and responsive design – the latter obviously having to do with the explosion of smart phones and tablets. The reason that film is becoming more important in digital is that it is simply the best way to tell stories. Besides, since digital is taken more serious than ever, the budgets are finally there. Media Monks’ Wesley ter Haar also said that browser based experiences are growing, because clients move away from Facebook. They don’t want to be dependent on such a powerful player that doesn’t really care about its advertisers. A serious threat for Facebook.

Berlin based Heimat and Amsterdam based Minivegas gave us a peak in the future of intuitive browsing with their CNN “Ecosphere.” This tool solves Twitter’s biggest disadvantage; the linear way of navigating through all the tweets. The team built a 3D realtime vizualisation of the tweets using the hashtag #COP17 – introduced for the Durban Climate Change summit. Interesting about this case is that CNN wanted to incorporate the crowd’s voice in their own news coverage. Something that was also part of the creative briefing of The Guardian’s “Three Little Pigs.” A sign of the times.

Sid Lee and B-Reel presented the Adidas “Collider” platform, a platform that allows the consumer to match creatives minds (musicians, painters, etc.) who then make a collaborative piece of art. The modern version of a branded magazine. The team started developing the site on mobile and then worked their way out to bigger screens – with more functionalities. A smart way of making sure, the experience works well on mobile.

The Intel and Toshiba film “The Beauty Inside,” created by B-Reel, showed how branded content, product placement, and crowd sourcing have jointly been taken one step further. An incredibly smart romantic film in which a laptop (“with Intel inside,” of course) plays one of the lead characters.

The “Talk Talk” commercial by Rattling Stick and Glassworks was, just as “Three Little Pigs,” a nice example of how real life elements make the CG come out better. Something also applicable to the “Dancing pony” for Three Mobile, a case hilariously shared by director Dougal Wilson from Blink and post-production company MPC. The day ended with another great commercial: “The Bear” for Canal+, created by BETC and Soixante Quinze.

The most important overall lessons we took home from the most well crafted campaigns in the world: Don’t start a (digital) production company if you don’t love your work and if you’re not passionate about details. And don’t be afraid to share your ideas in an early stage with other specialists; the earlier you join everyone at the table, the more efficient the creative process and the better the results.

Here you can also read the interview we did earlier with Francisco Condorelli, founder of Ciclope and Craften.