Drugi jezik na kojem je dostupan ovaj članak: Bosnian
By: Ekrem Dupanović
Methuselah was a Biblical character who, according to the Holy Book, lived 969 years. Today he is a synonym for all old people in the world. God forbid I live to see even 10 percent of his age, although I can already be counted as elderly (66), especially as I now read and hear that people from advertising 15 years and more younger than me are being classified as veterans, or call themselves pioneers of the profession in the region. If they are veterans, then I am a methuselah.
As of today, every day you can read (if it tickles your fancy) the Diary of a Methuselah. I’ll try to give you a picture of what and how my associates (Amir, Adnan and Gina) and I work on during the day.
I sincerely doubt you will learn much from my scribbles because, had I learned anything in the 46 years I’ve spent working in advertising, I wouldn’t be working on a portal, 12 hours a day, at my age, but in some smarter, more profitable business. But you might pick up some information, you might get a better insight into the state of regional advertising scene, from a different perspective than from just reading the daily news. Whether you’ll learn anything, who knows… perhaps only how not to do something. But, alas, I enjoy what I do and how much I do it, and if I weren’t doing it, I’d wither like a plant.
I’m still under the influence of my impressions of Days of Communication, held last weekend in Rovinj. Perfect organization, a record turnout, brilliant lecturers, and an award show worthy of the world’s largest festivals. And, most importantly, great works that took home the Effies, Mixx and X awards. BBDO is deservedly the Agency of the Year. Žuja rules! (Žuja je zakon.)
Three things are etched in my memory.
I hosted Marjan Novak for lunch at the Monte Mulini, which lasted four hours, during which we drank four bottles of wine – two Istrian Malvasia and two Teranos. A bottle an hour. Excellent lap time. What did we talk about? You might find out soon, when we declare our strategic partnership, if we agree on everything well; so maybe soon the news will drop like a bomb, and maybe not. Each of us – we (Media Marketing) and they (Marketing Magazine) – has a part of the picture of our regional advertising scene. Our image here is a little bigger, but we need their pieces of the puzzle to fit it all together. Just as it was with the Liverpool-Dortmund match. At one point during the lunch Marjan said that the night before he went to sleep early. When Borussia took the 3:1 lead against ‘his’ Liverpool, Marjan switched off the TV and, disappointed, went to sleep. Just around that time, I arrived in Rovinj, and as soon as I entered the room I turned on the TV. I shared the disappointment when I saw Borussia’s 3:1 lead, as I also root for Liverpool, but I’m more optimistic than Marjan. I continued to watch the game and got to see Lovren’s goal which took Liverpool to a 4:3 win in the second minute of stoppage time. “Oh Marjan, the thing you missed.” “What”, he asked. “Liverpool won with 4:3, the match was awesome.” He couldn’t believe it. He thought I was pulling his leg, and only when he checked the scores online did he let out a sigh of relief. I hadn’t watched to 1:3, Marjan didn’t watch from 1:3 to 4:3. This is the image we need to piece together.
On the second day I had lunch with Dunja Ivana Ballon, director of HURA. We hadn’t talked for a while because Dunja was on maternity leave. Topic – BalCannes. We set quite high goals and agreed to start rolling things ASAP. I love BalCannes, not only because I am co-creator of the idea to start a review of creativity in regional advertising, but because I am convinced that the industry needs this project. Does it need it with the concept we’ve implemented in previous years? I doubt it. The festival, without awards, has survived, but I think that something needs to be changed. Nothing is certain except change, so I see no reason why the BalCannes shouldn’t change. Perhaps even this year. Either way, you should already start thinking about the works that you can submit so the summer doesn’t catch you unprepared. There are works to be selected, and video presentations to be made, and that takes time. As the great poet Mak Dizdar would say: it’s time to think about the time. I’ve already started. On Saturday I sent an email to Zoran Santovac, director of the Headmade agency from Novi Sad, and told him to be sure to send to BalCannes their “Best fish in town” campaign, which they did for Banja Luka based Tropic. A great campaign. He immediately replied that he would send it, and that we’ll see each other in Rovinj. Headmade is now our first ice breaker.
And the third thing from Days of Communication is my role of Silencetologist. I had three meetings where I was told everything but I can’t publish anything. When the fourth person invited me for a coffee and immediately began with: “Look, I’ll tell you something, but it’s off the record,” I said I didn’t want to hear it, because anything he said I would publish immediately. And this was repeated several times over during the three days in Rovinj. That lovely fear. Fear of something being published that hasn’t been approved yet at the highest level. And this highest level really likes to mull things over, not because these things are complicated, but to show that they have the ability to think about things as well. PR is becoming more and more an obstacle in communication, instead of being what it should be – effective and timely communication with the public. That’s what I talked about for half an hour 15 days ago, at the PRO.PR in Budva, explaining why I loathe PR as it is today. I guess that’s why I unconsciously decided to start to publish my diary. It seems that I’m the only one who’s not afraid, so I can publicly, now, immediately, write about everything I do.
On Saturday, Stana Šehalić – the very agile Secretary General of UEPS, Serbian Association for Marketing Communications – sent me the program of the UEPS for the next four years (read more about it in the News section). When I read it, I was very pleased to see that UEPS, with a new board of directors, is moving forward in a completely new way rather than that trod by its predecessors. And everything was as Viktor Nikolić, General Manager of Beoexpo and president of the newly elected UEPS Board, told me ten days ago at a meeting in Sarajevo. On his way back from Mostar to Belgrade, Viktor stopped in Sarajevo where we spent more than two hours talking about everything related to UEPS. I was not a favorite of the two previous Boards because on several occasions I wrote about the idleness of the association. Now, the vision of the Serbian advertising industry is quite different. Viktor did not take the helm of the UEPS because of private interest, which has mostly been the case up till now. I actually don’t know why he would bother with this, unless he wants to change everything and make UEPS a modern and effective association of the Serbian advertising industry that will work to achieve its mission, and one that will have a vision. Viktor has a very successful company, Beoexpo, which deals with the design of fair venues, and has an annual turnover of two million euros. What would he need UEPS for, unless he wants to do great things and thinks he can do it with the current Board? He relayed greetings from Olivera Nikodijević, CMO of Čoka. I asked him where he met her, and he said that on the road from Mostar he was dialing numbers and recruiting new members for UEPS, so he also called Olivera. This is a president! And if the other members of the UEPS Board follow his lead, some great things are on the horizon. What was done up till now was almost nothing. So when I read the news about the Board’s plan of work for the next four years, which all members of the Board adopted unanimously, I realized that the ice has started to move. I wish Viktor and all the other members of the Board success in their task. Serbia has a large but unorganized market. It won’t be easy, because rules don’t agree with everyone, but it will move. For our part, we will strongly support the development of the industry in Serbia through our media, and in other ways.
Otherwise, I devoted almost the entire last weekend to judging works for the leading Hungarian festival of creativity in advertising, Hipnózis. It takes some effort to review and evaluate 233 works. The Hipnózis festival is a strategic partner of the Epica Awards and the jury members were selected among editors of media that deal with advertising, and so it fell on me to be a jury member. As I knew very little about the creativity in Hungarian advertising, I was pleasantly surprised. Hungarian agencies are doing well. There were great works. Of course, I can’t point out those which are, in my opinion, the best. We still need to wait for the festival, and then you too will be surprised, at least as much as I was.
A lot of things happened this weekend, but I wouldn’t want to bore you out of your head with my first column. There’s time enough for that.