Taking creativity out of the agency office and into cable cars
Twenty-eight young creatives. Ten mentors. Two campaign briefs. One very unusual setting. This week I’m passing my weekly post over to the managing editor of our website, Sue Keogh, to find out what happened when she took part in the Creative Express with ADC*E.
Creative Express is a two-day workshop bringing together Europe’s best young art directors, copywriters and designers, to draw inspiration and new methods of learning from their international peers.
Given real-life briefs and a very tight deadline, the creatives had to work in teams to develop campaign ideas in a classroom like no other: cable cars flying high above the Austrian Alps.
“I wanted to physically push young creatives out of their comfort zone,” explains Creative Director Hans-Peter Albrecht of Munich design school Akademie U5, who helped organise the event with ADC*E (pictured, right, in his rather fetching jacket).
“I wanted do invent something new. A “workshop” that shows that creativity has no borders. Even in planning a workshop!”
“Creative Express is special because it is short and intense and builds links between young creatives that really last,” says ADC*E director Mercè Segu. “They benefit from guidance from the mentors who help during the creative process, but the senior professionals also benefit by learning learn new approaches from the young ones.”
After spending a few hours getting to know Munich, we travelled through the night to the beautiful Alpine town of Fieberbrunn.
The next morning saw presentations from ten of us speakers, designed to stimulate the creative process.
Klaus Funk and composer Tom Batoy – who you may know as the guy behind the ‘I’m lovin’ it’ jingle for McDonald’s – both put the focus firmly on audio. Anna Blasco from ARTDECO cosmetics explained how you can have an idea that may not cost much but has a big wow factor – like Best Western Hotels giving guests a goldfish to keep them company. Furniture designer Nynke Koster told a particularly moving story about her work with her terminally ill father.
As managing editor for the Lürzer’s Archive website and founder of Sookio, a Cambridge-based agency offering digital content, I’m always aware of how many ideas are out there fighting for your attention.
Using a picture of the printer in the press room at Cannes Lions 2014 which printed out every single tweet using the festival hashtag, I offered tips on developing ideas which are able to cut through the noise.
Following the talks came the briefing.
1. The Brenner Base Tunnel. The longest underground railway connection in the world is being built, connecting Austria and Italy and cutting journey time from 80 to 25 minutes. The perfect challenge for this setting!
The benefits to freight and regular passengers are obvious, but then there is the enormous cost, disruption, environmental impact and the amount of time it will take to complete. How can we create a campaign which sells the benefits to locals, not to mention people across Europe who are footing 40% of the bill?
2. Huber Brau beer. The smaller of the two briefs, the objective was to refresh the marketing for this small and very local beer, known as ‘The beer from here.’
Then it was off into the cable cars, working in small teams to develop the first draft of ideas, then getting bedded in at the Wildalpgetterl inn at the top of the mountain to really knock the concepts into shape.
Being taken away from the typical office environment was what made it so special. “For me, the highlight was the experience of working up in the mountains,” says Merce. “The relaxed environment is not so normal in our industry and this is one of the pictures we will keep in our eyes and memories. The possibility to work on the Tyrolese cable cars was been really unique.”
Then came the presentations. These were the ideas that really stood out for me:
The 45* lifestyle: Based on the angles found in the mountainous landscape and the way you tilt your glass as the Huber is poured. Very versatile, funny and with lots of opportunities for user-generated content which would help it spread.
House of Huber: A great PR stunt celebrating people with the name Huber, which is really common in the area.
A short-distance relationship: Telling the story of Julia and Luca, who are brought closer together through the Brenner Base Tunnel. A bit like the Nesecafé couple, I could see the possibility for drawing other Europeans into the story and the opportunity for adding in extra plot twists if the project overruns (which of course it’s going to!)
Minecraft-style game: Getting children excited about the new tunnel link will get buy-in from their parents too.
Interactive screens: Placing these at either end of the tunnel project would allow residents to wave at each other and feel like they are forming a relationship already.
Remodelling the tunnel: People could sit in a train carriage to learn more about the excavation and even enjoying some fine dining.
And how did the young creatives enjoy the experience?
Damian Theato, Creative Assistant at OgilvyOne, Frankfurt: “My highlight of this trip were the people I met. So many funky, awesome and creative guys on top of the mountains.
"I learnt that every idea can be optimised. And therefore it was such a great experience to have the 10x10 speakers from all over Europe to teach us how ideas can get better."
Benjamin Barber, graphic design at Achos, Barcelona: "What will I take away from the Creative Express? A big Austrian hangover, plus many new friends around Europe and great collaboration opportunities. I got a fresh point of view on my career and a great variety of fresh feedback and reactions to my work.
"The highlights have got to be the welcoming nature of the organisers of the Creative Express and their amazing hospitality, the food, the beer, the laughs...and the surprises."
Karmen Heinmaa, Barbara Ryan and Marie-Christine Steixner take a break from browsing through Lürzer's Archive to say thanks to ADC*E for organising the Creative Express 2015!
31 July 2015
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