Second edition of Kaktus – Festival of Integrated Communications will be held on 27-28 October in Crowne Hotel Plaza, Belgrade (Serbia). As the festival's organiser Marketing network (Marketing mreža) and its founder Ivana Parčetić Mitić celebrate ideas, it is no coincidence that Kaktus' main theme is – you got it right, about creating good ideas. In an interview, Parčetić Mitić explains why the festival is a lot more than just an interesting (and spiky) name, breaks down Kaktus 2016 jury president Vladimir Ćosić's statement that Serbia is the advertising leader in the region and gives us her opinion about festivals that honour creative works.
Kaktus festival premiered last year. What do you expect from this year’s edition? What did you learn from last year?
Kaktus, festival of integrated communications, was organised last year for the first time, and as such attracted a large number of people from the world of marketing. Through this festival, we have learned that the quality is what people look for and appreciate. We are constantly working on the program and speakers, we continually monitor the news, read global marketing magazines, visit conferences abroad, and follow research projects… Thanks to that, we are able to recognise good lecturers and bring them to our festival. This year we are very proud of our program and the list of presenters, including: Bruno Luglio, Senior Creative Art Director, R/GA NY, USA; Ivan Pols, Creative Director, Adam & EveDDB London, UK; Thierry Nicolet, Senior VP Global Press Relations, Schneider Electric, France; dr Nikolaos Dimitriadis, Development Director – Executive Development Institute, The University of Sheffield International Faculty, City College; Riccardo Fregoso, Executive Creative Director, McCann Paris (France); Stephanie Bailey, Head of Corporate Communications, Fleishman-Hillard London, UK; Jan Namedyński, Global Digital Business Development Manager, AVON (Poland); Vincenza Cristina Saccà, Head of Marketing CEE, MasterCard (Italy); Mihnea Gheorghiu, Group Creative Director, Publicis Group (Romania), David Zappe, Marketing Director, Heineken (Slovakia), Iva Lekić, Marketing Europe, Lufthansa Airlines (Germany) and others. Every year we try to be innovative and to offer something new, as well as different experience for colleagues from around the region.
This year’s jury president Vladimir Ćosić said in a recent interview that Serbia is the advertising leader in the region. Do you agree? Moreover, what’s your take on creative industry in Serbia in general?
Our country, and the entire region, had a lot of problems. Solving these problems has been school in creativity to us, and from it a generation of creative professionals grew up which today is winning awards at major international festivals. Also, we are a country in which the market is developing very fast and that requires showing all the skills in the field of communications. I can say that we are a very talented nation and that we have “playing cards”. As said one of the speakers at last year’s Kaktus Festival – we are still the successful “outsiders”.
What does Kaktus represent in the region?
- Festival of integrated communications (first of its kind in the region);
- We exclusively foster and celebrate IDEAS that will endure, ideas that come out of the boundaries of obvious, and despite of difficult circumstances inspire and produce the most effective communication with target groups;
- We have carefully selected lecturers, 95% of which you cannot see and hear at other festivals;
- We are “pricking” the field of marketing communications in the region with different, fresh and innovative ideas never before seen…
- We have a different and unexpected name of the festival, as well as the visual…
This is what, among other things, makes us different from other festivals throughout the region and what makes us unique.
You said the festival is “perfect opportunity to assess the ideas and the progress of our profession”. What about advertisers, i.e. clients? Why should they attend?
Of course. Without advertisers and clients there is no progress in the profession. I’ve always been a proponent of the idea that clients and agencies are on the same side. One without the other cannot succeed, and we all have to do our part in advancing the profession. For this reason, all activities organised by the Marketing Network (Marketing mreža), including Kaktus Festival, are offering quality content for both agencies and companies. Festival of integrated communications brings together a large number of marketing experts and creative people. I think this is the right place at where both colleagues and clients can see and hear different ideas, and take something from them that will perhaps help them in launching their brands.
In your opinion, why is it so important to have a national festival that honours the most creative campaigns?
Marketing Network (Marketing mreža) has always believed that the top ideas, that push our industry forward and bring global quality to local markets – should be showed and rewarded. We should be proud of creative people and artists who are creating ideas every day, ideas that “catch our eye” not only in Serbia, but throughout the region and the world. Also, Kaktus Festival is one of the rare occasions in Serbia where every creative person can get a true and deep inspiration, and motivation for their future works of art. Serbia is a country where global marketing trends are followed despite of variety of challenges that agencies meet in their work.