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Looking At The Big(ger) Picture Of Communication

March 15, 2017

Croatian national advertising festival Days of communication starts in almost two weeks. The festival sees some changes this year, which we discussed in detail with Davor Bruketa, HURA chairman, and Dunja Ivana Ballon, HURA CEO.

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Between 30 March and 2 April, Rovinj will be once again taken over by the people from the Croatian marketing communications industry. The organisational team, The Croatian Association of Communications Agencies (HURA) and IAB Croatia, made a few twists compared to last year’s event. As Davor Bruketa explains, one of the best ways of defining creativity in any area is the way it challenges the status quo. The changes have been made in both conference and competition programme. Also, some unconventional speakers – at least from advertising industry’s perspective – have been announced. I mean, creative agency playing rock tunes at their lectures and the co-founder of The Pirate Bay? Keep reading.

Days of communication comes early this year. Why did you choose the end of March? Moreover, do you think it can affect the competition in any way?

Davor Bruketa: We changed the usual time of year when the festival is held mostly because of practical reasons, namely the Easter holiday season. We wanted to make sure that all of the people interested in visiting and participating in the festival have a chance to do so. In terms of competition, we don’t really look at the other festivals which cover the industry as competitors. They are our existing and potential partners and we view any chance to discuss new trends and to gather and exchange ideas as another great opportunity to advance the industry.

This year’s main theme is the integration of advertising and PR. Why did you focus on PR?

Davor Bruketa: During the last couple of years, we focused on the integration of offline and online, creativity and efficiency, as well as on the integration of the festival in Cannes and Croatia. The idea to integrate advertising and PR in this year’s edition of Days of Communication is based on the insight we have gathered in terms of our industry. We need to look at the big picture of communication when it comes to devising strategies and communication plans for different clients. The solutions need to be clear and consistent on every platform and in every aspect of the communication of a brand or a company, both in advertising and in PR.

Some of the speakers at this year’s event, such as SNASK, Vesselin Popov and eventually Alex Braun provide an unconventional insight into the world of communications. Do you think our world needs a little injection (or a kick) of unconventional?

Davor Bruketa: The world definitely needs unconventional people, fresh ideas and new approaches to existing areas of expertise. One of the best ways of defining creativity in any area is the way it challenges the status quo. For Alex Braun this is the way he has combined his expertise in political marketing and PR with his new role of working for established brands, as well as with the role of strategy and research in both areas. The marketing agency from Sweden, SNASK, will show us how they fight the conservative world in terms of the solutions they create for their clients, but also in the way they work on the brand of their own agency. They believe that it is necessary for brands to gain some enemies if they want to fight for what they believe in. The fact that the agency’s lecture will also include a musical performance is another proof of their unconventionality. Vesselin Popov’s fresh view on the industry comes from another area all together. The Psychometrics Centre in Cambridge where he works as the director of development combines the science of big data psychology with social media to create profiles used in campaigns for brands and in politics. So the speakers of this year’s Days of Communication are definitely embodiments of our belief in the importance of unconventionality. Their professional expertise and the methods they implement have earned them a place within our manifestation.

Davor Bruketa, HURA Chairman. Photo: Mirna Ptiček
Davor Bruketa, HURA Chairman. Photo: Mirna Ptiček

Let’s move forward to Peter Sunde. As a creator of a (banned) torrent website, he will talk about responsibility and power in digital era. What can delegates at DK learn from him?

Davor Bruketa: The topic of intellectual property rights versus free access to content has been the subject of fierce debate on a global scale for the last couple of years. This makes it a topic relevant for our industry as well as for the general public. As members of the industry where the protection of intellectual property rights is a vital matter, it is our belief that these rights should be respected and developed further in terms of the legislative acts which regulate it.

However, we acknowledge the fact that there are a lot of supporters of the opposite view, with Peter Sunde as one of the most recognized ones. His role in the formation of the portal The Pirate Bay makes him a relevant speaker who can present the view of an entire online movement and ideology on sharing content, open access and piracy. His life story even includes conflicts with the authorities and spending five months in jail so to say that he is unconventional would be an understatement. We believe that it will be interesting to hear how all of this contributed to the view on power and responsibility in the digital world he advocates today, as well as to hear a different perspective on the leading social media platform Facebook, especially since Peter Sunde believes that the CEO Mark Zuckerberg is the dictator of the digital world and its largest community.

Last year we saw the premiere edition of Young Lions Croatia. What can we expect this year?

Dunja Ivana Ballon: Amazing young people being in the spotlight. Young Lions representing Croatia and our agencies worldwide. Young talents giving some seniors in the industry a run for their money. We’ve integrated PR in Young Lions as well so all PR professionals can compete for the first time.

Dunja Ivana Ballon, HURA CEO. Photo: Petar Glebov/PIXSELL
Dunja Ivana Ballon, HURA CEO. Photo: Petar Glebov/PIXSELL

You introduced some novelties in the competition part. For example, IdejaX sees bronze, silver and gold awards. What has lead you to make this decision?

Dunja Ivana Ballon: We just listened to the market. It was time for IdejaX to grow I think.  As HURA is an agency association, we give voice to our members. They decided this was the way to move forward and we listened.

It’s fifth edition of Dani komunikacija. Looking all the way back to 2013. What would you consider as DK’s biggest achievement so far?

Dunja Ivana Ballon: Our results this year are through the roof. Amazing. And I could tell you some wow stats and the steps that got us there but personally I just love that I’m actually still sooo excited to do it and for what each new year will bring – it is never ever boring 🙂