Drugi jezik na kojem je dostupan ovaj članak: Bosnian
By: Ekrem Dupanović
In 2017, Olivera Perković was the director of the agency McCann Belgrade. Jana Savić Rastovac is a creative director in the same agency. Last year was successful for McCann Belgrade, both on business and creative fronts. In business because they achieved all set goals, and as for the creative successes, those are best illustrated by the many awards won at national (UEPS and Kaktus) and regional (Golden Drum, BalCannes, Sempler) festivals.
This is a conversation with the first two ladies of the McCann Belgrade about the year in which the agency marked 20 years of successful work.
Media Marketing: Last year has gone. What do you expect your final balance sheet to look like?
Olivera Perković: The balance sheet shows that we had income growth compared to previous year, the year was indeed dynamic, demanding and challenging – we are very pleased. We equally value our qualitative growth, our goals in creative and strategic output and digital service, we were successful at the first Serbian Effie, Golden Drum, Kaktus, we are very happy with 2017.
Media Marketing: 2017 was very successful for McCann Belgrade creatively. Four awards at the first Serbian Effie, the Agency of the year at Kaktus, three Golden Drums, two Golden Drum Adriatics, one of the 25th best regional works at BalCannes and 11 UEPS awards. Happy?
Jana Savić Rastovac: This was a truly creative year for us. We are most proud of the continuity of our creative output and the awards are the recognition of our determination to excel, to be innovative, imaginative and bold. We set the bar high, that’s the only way to ensure that the quality of our work achieves our goals. It is not easy but it is beautiful.
Media Marketing: Do you think that other work you submitted to festivals should have received awards?
Jana Savić Rastovac: All the works we submitted, although they all differed culturally and content wise, found their own festival and an award.
Media Marketing: McCann is one of the few agencies which submits their work to all the festivals in the region (national, Golden Drum, BalCannes, Sempler…) thus giving strong support to the development of creativity in advertising and the communications industry as a whole. Is it an agreed strategy by the I&F McCann Group?
Jana Savić Rastovac: We believe that creativity is the only way. We are tough on ourselves and we set the bar high. We submit only our best work and we are proud of our successes in relation to the number of submissions and the number of awards – our ratio is excellent. We believe that it is very important to take part in each creative race available to us. We can then see what works and what doesn’t. That motivates us. I believe that is the only way to strengthen the national and regional creative scene. I delight in successes of regional agencies on the global scene. I think it is a positive thing and takes away the argument that lack of success is because of the Balkan background.
Media Marketing: Last year, McCann’s Scandinavian agencies joined I&F McCann Group. I presume that you cooperate widely including the management structure. How important is business experience sharing and what can the Scandinavians teach people from Belgrade?
Olivera Perković: We in McCann agencies complement each other – we share common categories – retail and FMCG for instance. It gives us space for sharing and development of know-how, we have experienced and diverse teams specialised in certain segments and categories. On the other hand, in the north, the big clients are from specific industries and sectors, whilst in the Adriatic region those industries are not advertising at all. In Nordics, there is McCann Health, specialising in the health industry, which is a dynamic category with great development potential. Also, Scandinavian Design Group is really strong in the design category. We can see from just these two examples how that specific knowledge and experience will be very important for the Adriatic region in the future.
Media Marketing: What can Scandinavians gain from the Balkan good business practice?
Olivera Perković: Our tenacity and drive to make the impossible possible, to make something from nothing, to try at all costs and to continue to grow.
Media Marketing: If offered to take over the running of a Scandinavian agency, would you take on that challenge?
Olivera Perković: I’ve already accepted a similar challenge☺.
Media Marketing: How important is the cooperation with Northern Europe for the teams in the Adriatic region? And how important is it for the Scandinavians? I reckon you can both learn something in this partnership, how does this cooperation work on a creative level?
Jana Savić Rastovac: We are looking forward to this partnership. I believe that the two cultures will give the final creative product their best. Diversity is the in word for the creative community at the moment, and we have an opportunity to live it in 2018. The two cultures will come together and I expect a lot of excitement and new experiences.
Media Marketing: McCann Belgrade celebrated their 20th anniversary this year. What is the agency’s biggest success in the last 20 years?
Olivera Perković: I am most proud of our brand portfolio, it’s the essence of everything – the portfolio enables us to gain knowledge, develop services and creative reputation and strengthen the agency. I am also proud of our growth in this competitive industry – there are a lot of agencies in a small market, with small budgets.
Media Marketing: When you talk amongst yourselves, which campaign is most spoken of in the last two decades?
Jana Savić Rastovac: Our greatest hits are TV spot “To kume” for Lav beer, the campaign “Može” for Raiffeisen bank, the campaign “Niste sami” and our first Cannes Lion, then “Taksi drama” for Yugoslav Drama Theater.
Media Marketing: McCann Belgrade is an agency ruled by women. I’m talking to two women today. When talking about your creative team we must mention Vladimir Cosic, one half of the creative directors team. Jana, here’s your chance to say something about your colleague, you two share all the frustrations about pitches and indecisive and timid clients as well as the campaign successes and festival rewards.
Jana Savić Rastovac: Vladimir Ćosić is an exceptional creative, immensely talented and dedicated, a sharp mind, erudite, excellent mentor, a man with a dry sense of humor that makes one forget one’s fear of flying, the best creative director and my friend.
We developed our business acumen in parallel, many say that it is rare for two creative egos to work together for so long. We are poles apart, but in other ways the same: we love our job, we believe in the strength of ideas, we never stop learning, and we are inquisitive and know the joy of a good campaign. Vlado’s focus on digital is exciting and I am sure we can expect great things from McCann Belgrade’s digital team.
Media Marketing: I know that the business and creative part of the agency work well together. Were there ever situations where the account people tied the hands of creatives and didn’t allow your imagination to soar?
Jana Savić Rastovac: We worked a lot on busting the myth of creatives vs. accounts. Our arrangement is that the idea is the king, and we all work together on the idea that will make a difference to our client. This took some time to achieve, and our campaigns that stepped out of the comfort zone were instrumental in it. When you set up the business in this way, that antagonism is meaningless. The best projects are when roles are overlapping, when each and every one of us is motivated to contribute, when everybody works towards a common goal – the joint success of the agency teams and the client. Then, people can move mountains.
Media Marketing: Were there any situations where the creatives made life hell for the accounts by insisting on their ideas. And what was the result?
Olivera Perković: I would agree with Jana. We don’t have two teams, we all work together, we are one team. The McCann team!
Media Marketing: What do you wish for in business and private life in 2018?
Olivera Perković: Businesswise, I wish us to continue developing and innovate, this will enrich us as individuals and the company as a group. The basis for any growth is leaving your comfort zone. I’d like wishes to turn into goals and thinking into action and thus face new challenges in 2018.
Jana Savić Rastovac: I wish everybody many beautiful days on a personal and professional level, health and motivation to self-improvement, happiness and a willingness to learn new things. And courage to try…