The more constraints you have, it is more likely that magic will happen, said Erik Vervroegen, International Creative Director, Publicis Worldwide, while speaking at Goafest 2012. He went on to say that a little bit of magic and luck can lead to successful advertising.
Usually the constraints one faces are no money, no time, impossible briefs and tired creatives. Vervroegen shared that most of his best work has been born under these conditions. He then showcased some of his successful ad campaigns and how he and his team overcame many challenges to create them.
First he took up the challenge of ‘no money’. He illustrated the work done for one of his clients, Amnesty International. To meet its demand of a TV ad that would reach millions of people with no money being spent on it, a simple idea was launched. This idea managed to get 50,000 signatures in a day. McDonald’s ‘M Recycles’ campaign is another example of the same.
When faced with the problem of an impossible brief, he and his team came up with the ‘EMI music piracy’ campaign that won the Grand Prix at Cannes in 2005. The client’s brief was to use famous people and create the campaign within two weeks as “we (the client) have free media space in a magazine”.
He spoke on the challenge of tired creatives citing the example of PlayStation that wanted to visually describe the feelings of a player. They wanted to depict that a player may die in a game but he can always be re-born. The ad Vervroegen produced pushed the idea in a bold visual. “The client was indeed brave to go ahead with such a campaign. Magic happens only if you don’t say ‘no’,” he said.
“Magic is a reward for hard work. It will come to you only when you don't give up. Never lose the beginner’s spirit and believe that your dreams will come true,” he added.
He said that there is so much more for him to achieve. “I’m still on a quest and trying to learn. The secret is to meet different cultures, people and learn more. We need listen to people and be interested in new challenges,” he said.
Session video: Erik Vervroegen