Technology is a tool, not an idea: Amir Kassaei
Digital, when treated as infrastructure, has huge potential, but when treated as a medium, is failing constantly, says the CCO of DDB Worldwide
How about scooping up your dog’s poop in a special box in the park to get free minutes of WiFi – the more weight, the more minutes! DDB’s campaign for Mexican internet portal Terra created a surprise around the city with people enjoying a poop-free park and it increased conversations by around 70 per cent on social networks during the first week. Not to forget DDB’s work for McDonald’s promoting the breakfast offerings through the use of alarms on radio stations. After seeing these clutter-breaking campaigns by DDB, only one question pops up in everyone’s mind: Who’s the big creative daddy behind these campaigns?
Well...it is the brain child of creative guns under Amir Kassaei, Chief Creative Officer, DDB Worldwide. He believes in the universal rule that a brand can be relevant only when it walks the talks with the customer. “A brand is the sum of all the experiences you have with the company. Being consistent, substantial and truthful is the key to building a brand network. If a brand is adding value to the life of the people by delivering relevant experiences, in other words, delivers what it promises, people start to care,” he said.
A big idea is a compelling thought with the power to change the way people perceive a brand and generate tangible business value that endures over time and works across channels. DDB made the public and museums aware of audio descriptions by organising a charity exhibition and auction ‘Art Never Seen’. But instead of showing original artworks, they exhibited headphones and players with recorded audio descriptions of the works. The visitors could see the art using only ears and imagination as visually challenged people do.
A good ad idea is based on a relevant truth
It is often believed that a great idea balanced with proper execution and communicated in an integrated way across a range of media can be a source of great power to a brand. “You have to differentiate between ideas in general and ideas in advertising. A good ad idea is an idea based on a relevant truth. It's unseen, intelligent and involves people. And it is the most innovative solution to a marketing and business problem of a company,” he explained.
A successful campaign should have the art of thinking smaller, smarter and simpler with the ability to solve the right problem at the right time. He believes that one should not develop campaigns by having awards in mind. “You should solve the problems of your clients. If a campaign is the solution and it's a game-changing one, the client will be successful and you will get the recognition of the industry,” he remarked.
In this digital era, brands need to start delivering rather than promising. They have to create a campaign that creates a viral loop touching the lives of everyone. With half a million car crashes a year caused by women drivers applying makeup, DDB and Volkswagen wanted to create awareness of this underestimated danger. DDB picked up the latest viral trend among young women: haul videos. Together with the famous haul girl Nikkie, who has over 150,000 subscribers, DDB Berlin created the tutorial ‘A crash course to shine’ carrying the message. In five days, the video was shared, re-tweeted and watched almost 130,000 times. They started a real discussion on YouTube with over 2,100 relevant comments.
Kassaei believes in treating digital like an infrastructure and not a medium. “We were among the first agencies back in the early 90s to establish a digital arm with Tribal DDB. So for us at DDB, it is a natural thing to think in infrastructure because we are almost digital natives and we know by experience that digital and the web if treated as infrastructure, have a huge potential, and when treated as medium, are failing constantly,” he said.
There is nothing called social media, and it is not something one develops or creates for a brand, he stated. “Social should be part of your DNA. For us at DDB, social means to have the deepest respect towards human beings. It is part of our DNA since 1949,” he said.
According to Kassaei, the challenge that advertising agencies will face in the next few years is understanding and embracing technology as what it is – a tool; one should not get confused, thinking of it as an idea.
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