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IHAVEANIDEA.ORG > articles >  2007 Boards Creative Workshop – Toronto

2007 Boards Creative Workshop – Toronto

Posted on March 6, 2007 and read 1,447 times

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The old adage says that March comes in like a lion and out like a lamb. While we don’t know about the lamb part yet, the lion was certainly true, as many members of Toronto’s advertising and production community arrived at the Diesel Playhouse on what was turning into frigid, stormy first of March. These brave souls braved the elements to attend the Boards Magazine Creative Workshop, the first in a series that will also take place in San Francisco and Chicago later this year.

Once inside the playhouse, the workshop attendees were treated to a selection of speakers, one who knows a thing or two about Lions, albeit the kind you pick up in Cannes. David Droga, legendary creative, Cannes Lions superstar and founder of Droga5 was the workshop’s keynote speaker. David spoke about the ever changing landscape of options available to clients. “These are exciting but fragile times,” he exclaimed. “Lots of other industries are now able to offer our clients solutions, from Hollywood to TV networks. These industries have far bigger budgets and are generally more nimble than advertising agencies, but their ideas aren’t necessarily rooted in consumers and brands.” Since those are the specialties of the advertising realm, David suggests that we as ad people need to convince clients of the appeal of their brands, and that consumers actually do love brands that are ‘right’ for them.

David also discussed what Droga5 has been doing in order to win the hearts and minds of both consumers and clients. “We’re in the momentum business,” he says, “our ideas have to be able to outlast the media budget.” In the case of Droga5’s Cannes Grand Prix winning viral for Ecko, what they spent on media was far surpassed by the talk value and press coverage the tagging of ‘Air Force One’ generated. That said, what worked for Ecko is not likely going to work for another brand, so agencies must be committed to finding the right solution for their clients. “We’re all ideas people,” says David, “we just have to pick the right canvas to work with.”

Of course David wasn’t the only forward thinking creative on the workshop panel. In the Creative Workshop proper, we were treated to two very intriguing – and entertaining – case studies. The first was presented by Jon Kamen and Justin Wilkes of and Bruce Wellington of BBH New York, where they discussed the conception and implementation of the Game Killers campaign for AXE.

Kamen, Wilkes and Wellington all agreed that Game Killers was a monumental undertaking, and not one that could be rushed through to the end. “You have to have a lot of patience in this brave new world,” stated Justin. “It takes a long time to make it happen.” Jon and Justin also commented that most agencies aren’t prepared to make that bold new step. “Nine out of ten ideas that ad agencies bring to @radical are bad. Not everyone is ready to take the plunge. One of the things we have to see before we take on a project is if the agency has successfully rallied the client behind the idea—they have to be convinced the client will go with it, because if they aren’t, it all falls apart.” Fortunately in the case of Game Killers, BBH had Unilever (the parent company of the AXE brand) agree to the basic idea and place resources behind developing it further.

One of the unique challenges behind Game Killers was developing it into a TV show, working alongside MTV. MTV was very concerned about preserving its integrity, and worked hard to keep the other parties from having Game Killers drift away from being entertaining content and into the world of infomercials. Over three months were spent simply developing the ground rules for the show’s structure in a way that pleased the network, the production company, the agency and the client. “Getting Unilever and MTV on the same page was a massive undertaking,” said Bruce “but obviously we all got to a very good place.”

The second case study of the afternoon was presented by Andrew Deitchman, CD of Mother New York and Benjamin Palmer, founder of The Barbarian Group for the ridiculously fun “Beer Cannon” campaign for Milwaukee’s Best Light. “There is a mushng of the middle in society,” the claimed. “Smart people are getting dumber, and dumb people turn out to be smarter than you think.”

Unlike the AXE campaign, where the production company needed assurances from the agency that the client was already on board with the idea, the Beer Cannon concept was presented to Miller by Mother in tandem with The Barbarian Group. This let the client know that the idea had support all the way through to execution, and every step along the way was grounded in a rock solid strategy. The result: a viral that received huge amounts of media coverage and was passed around YouTube and email inboxes like crazy.

The final session of the afternoon was a discussion entitled ‘Executing The Big Idea.’ Panelists included Brady Gilchrist, EVP Strategy of Fuel Industries (one of ihaveanidea’s wonderful sponsors) Tim Piper, ACD of Ogilvy & Mather Toronto (and the guy behind Dove ‘Evolution’ ) David Rolfe, Director of Content, DDB Chicago and Regina Brizzolara, SVP Director of Broadcast Production, McKinney Silver. The debate was fast and spirited, with the focus being on how the old method of getting messages out to the consumers isn’t going to work with all the new ways of engaging people. Of course, not everyone was in agreement with each other ¬– it wouldn’t b much of a debate if they were – but most agreed that the bigger an idea is, the better. “If an idea is merely good instead of great, you’ll spend a lot more time and energy making it work.”

Everyone on the panel must’ve rehearsed their soundbites, for there were a lot of poignant comments made during the discussion. “Think from the ground up, not from the dollars down,” “Never think locally. Think globally with your ideas” and “find a link between your brand and doing some good in the world” are just a few that resonated with the audience.

March certainly came in like a lion that day, and thanks to Board’s creative workshop, that intensity and energy should last well beyond the end of the month, as far as our creative industry is concerned.

Ignacio Oreamuno




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