Drugi jezik na kojem je dostupan ovaj članak: Bosnian
2017 was an incredibly strong year for McCann Romania. When it came to consistently surprising creative, the agency quite frankly smashed it. From Rombot, the AI ambassador, to ‘Live. From a different World’, which used live streaming to connect urban-living youngsters with elders living traditional lives back in the countryside, via Super Hero fruit and veg and a Taco Bell launch campaign that basically trolled Romania’s neighbours, the agency’s work is characterized by a resourceful, lateral thinking approach that isn’t limited by traditional media.
Credit goes to the whole team, but leading the charge and rallying the troops has been McCann Romania’s CCO Catalin Dobre. And his leadership has not gone unnoticed – Catalin has just been named Creative Director of McCann Central Eastern Europe, a role he will carry out alongside his existing position.
You’ve just been named Creative Director of McCann Central Eastern Europe – congratulations! What are your hopes and ambitions for the role?
Thank you, exciting times. I’m proud to have the opportunity to get more and more involved in a region that has amazing talent and potential.
What we want to achieve is to build a creative culture with the strongest values and the highest ambitions. A culture that will manage to stop New Europe’s brain drain and, more than this, to attract creatives from all around the world. A culture that will take the relationship with our clients to the next level and will generate famous work. Work that makes a difference. Work that travels, that people around the world know and admire.
The Central Eastern Europe region seems to be going from strength to strength creatively and there’s also amazing digital talent in the region too – why do you think this is?
There is a very unique type of creativity in this part of the world and it comes from the school of life. People have been forced to be flexible, to adapt and to find innovative solutions to problems in their everyday life ever since they were kids. Creatives were forced to think outside of the box from back when they were very young and this training came in handy when dealing, later on, with advertising briefs. This can be one of the reasons why we see a lot of non-traditional work coming from the region. If we add to the equation the huge amount of digital talent, it explains the cool innovative/digital work.
For us, as a network, constant results brought a lot of confidence. We have a reputation in the region, we’ve just been named Network of the Year at Golden Drum for the second time in a row and for the fourth time in total, over the past five years. Also, we deliver great results year after year in the most important international festivals. This pumps up the energy and creates a reputation that attracts more and more talent.
To date you’ve worked in Romania – looking at the rest of the region, which countries are looking forward to working with – or rather which countries in particular are doing exciting things creatively?
I’m proud to call a lot of the creative directors in the region my friends. We constantly do meetings to share and grow work and push our creative limits. There is a great energy developing.
Also we are very collaborative when it comes to approaching regional or global briefs and this makes us very powerful as a creative community.
In the last period we saw work from Prague, Belgrade, Milan, Tel Aviv and Bucharest getting some big distinctions in festivals and I want to congratulate everybody for the effort. Also, I saw a lot of ambition and very interesting ideas from across the region and it’s just a matter of time until we see famous work coming from more and more countries.
What was the best piece of advice you got when you were starting out?
I remember someone telling me when I was an intern: “Listen, please say the stupidest things…this is where the disruptive ideas start from. And now, you are in the position when nobody can judge you for it. What can they say? That you don’t know what you are talking about? How could you? You are an intern”.
I still try to say stupid things and to pass on the advice. I think if the title on your business card changes and you think you only need to say smart things, you have a problem.
One of the projects that we really enjoyed from the past year was Rombot. There’s so much debate right now about AI and how it will impact the advertising industry and how it will change the way we work. Having got hands-on with the technology for Rombot, how did that shape your views of AI?
I think we’ll need a lot of human intelligence to make the most of the artificial one.
What I mean by that is technology is progressing in an amazing way and it’s opening up a world of possibilities. But we need to find the best ideas about how to use it. The smart insights, the creative breakthroughs won’t come from AI. So we will still need to be our focus. But different forms of AI will give us the possibility to express that in amazing different ways.
So no worries, the AI Don Draper won’t take our jobs. Yet.
Actually, looking back over the past year you’ve had a really consistent output of clever work that goes way beyond traditional advertising – Veggie Heroes, Taco Bell, Rom, Vodafone (I also had a chuckle at the KFC Transylvanian garlic sauce at Halloween). What’s the key to maintaining these high standards and encouraging the team to constantly push for new ways of doing things?
What is interesting is that these campaigns are not the results of the last year. They are the result of the last 10 years. They are the effect of a creative process and a creative culture that appreciates a lot the “new”, the unconventional.
We start thinking about the big ideas first and about the deliverables later. We don’t approach briefs thinking, “Ok, we need to do a film, or we need to do a website”. We focus on the lateral ideas first.