Vladimir Ćosić is Creative Director at McCann Belgrade and a jury president at this year’s KAKTUS festival, which will be held on 27-28 October in Belgrade. In this short interview, he talks about Serbian creative industry, integrated communications trends and the importance of festivals that honour creativity.
You were a juror at KAKTUS 2015, it turns out this year you’re a jury president. Based on the entries from previous year, what’s your opinion marketing communications industry in Serbia? Is it really integrated?
I can say I’m content with the quality of the entries, especially with the quality of the winning campaigns. Both quantity and quality of the entries were more than satisfying. Since I’ve judged at some regional festivals last year I can say Serbia is the advertising leader in the region. It’s a common practice in the other countries in the region that there is one or maybe two campaigns that really stand out and that they are pushed to other creative festivals or even further. Not in our case. Lots of entries were on a really high level, some of them easily stand their ground against world-class campaigns taking content, quality, ideas and execution into equation. And with that I mean multi-awarded campaigns from the most renowned festivals, such as Cannes Lions.
The extent of integration of communications is a story in itself. Integration of specific communication ideas still directly depends, among other things, on the budget as well as on creativity and media choice. I think that in our country there is an awareness of the importance of integration for the campaigns’ success, but they often don’t reach their true potential due to budget and time restrictions. What we should all strive for are integrated campaigns with highly creative ideas which is the only way to influence specific campaigns through the synergy of different media types and with the focus on maximising a strong, creative idea.
Which integrated communications trends dominate our market and which trend will mark 2016?
Generally speaking, there are two trends in advertising in the last few years that are slowly approaching our country. On the one hand, there is the tendency of brands being more innovative in communication in order to separate themselves from the competition, which is reflected in the way in which the campaigns reach people with innovative advertising channels usage, product innovation, as well as digital and software solutions that are taking over traditional advertising. On the other hand, brands do not advertise just products anymore, they are trying to solve people’s problems and make their lives better, more tolerable, more beautiful, more interesting, and pretty often they do not run away from the activation which we used to call CSR to demonstrate not only the value of the product , but also an attitude and philosophy of the brand.
From your experience, what’s the secret ingredient that makes a successful campaign?
The closest to that is a great idea, i.e. the idea that deals with important issues. This kind of idea is directly dependent on honesty, courage and willingness to experiment and mistakes of agency people. It depends on the vision and determination of brand managers, as well as on the trust between the agency and its client. It almost looks like a mathematical equation, which is completely fine with me although I’ve never been a fan o the mystification of the creative process. As it urns out in the end, there is no secret ingredients. As in any other business, it is enough to really love what you do and keep on doing what you intended to do. All the rest will naturally and effortlessly fall into place sooner or later.
Why do national creative festivals really matter? Why do they need profession’s support?
I find them important for many reasons, which are directly related to the duality and the destiny of our profession and are at the core of advertising. On the one hand, it’s business, but on the other hand, it’s like an art. It’s of great importance for every artist that his work is showcased and judged by experts. It’s like building a coordinate system that marks your progress. From here, festivals serve as a rare opportunity to motivate agency people and brand managers to push even harder. And let’s be honest with ourselves, there is no money that could buy the feeling when you manage to implement a cutting-edge idea. If you do not think so, ask yourself whether you chose the right industry.