Richard Brim, adam&eveDDB’s chief creative officer, told Cannes Lions today just how powerful ‘the wonder of what the f*ck’ can be in creative work.
In the session, entitled The Wonder of What The F*ck, Brim outlined some unexpected stories behind the creation some of the agency’s most awarded campaigns, helping adam&eveDDB win the most creative agency of the year title at Cannes Lions last year.
Brim explained that some of the agency’s best work came into being because adam&eveDDB has created an environment where people are not afraid to share their ideas, no matter how crazy, stupid or WTF-inducing they might appear.
“I find that some of the greatest and most insightful ideas I’ve heard have come from those WTF moments,” Brim said. “The ability to get a WTF idea and use it, is what I’ve found, the only thing that helps us.”
Brim asked the audience to consider the depressing statistic that 89 per cent of advertising isn’t even noticed. What makes an agency is not the best talent or the slickest offices with ‘distressed wood flooring’ ‘cool staircases’ or even “a wall of stuffed animals wearing glasses,” he said. It is about having an environment where people don’t worry about voicing their ideas, no matter what they are. Even the best talent can be afraid to articulate an idea when it pops into their head because they are crippled by what the people around them might think or the positon they hold.
“We’ve all worked in places where it’s like ‘no idea’s a bad idea’, but you do think a bad idea’s a bad idea, you do think they’re going to laugh at you, you do think you’re going to be fired,” he said.
To illustrate the power of WTF ideas, Brim pointed to moments throughout his career atadam&eveDDB where the wonder of WTF has helped him and his team create work that stands above the parapet.
Marmite ‘Gene Project’
The idea for the agency’s multi-award-winning Marmite Gene Project, which enabled the public to test whether they were genetically predisposed to love or hate Marmite, came from a very unexpected place, Brim revealed. While the team assigned to work on Marmite were having a creative brainstorm, a small voice at the back of the room said: “If you really love it or hate it, surely it’s genetic?” That voice was from a junior planner who had just started at the agency. He went on to suggest that the team should actually test whether people’s love or hate for Marmite was genetic. The initial reaction to his idea was,’ WTF?’ Then, almost immediately, there was a wave of consensus around the room – that was the idea. From that, an entire campaign was very quickly born. “[That idea] shouldn’t really have happened in that creative brainstorm,” said Brim. “The beauty of it is, it makes your life so much easier.”
Fifa ‘El Tornado’
Brim explained that the number one rule when working with gaming brands like Fifa is “don’t f*ck with the game”. But one team at adam&eveDDB wanted to do precisely that to launch Fifa 18. The agency went to the client with their rule-breaking idea, and after several rejections, the client eventually said yes. El Tornado, a new Fifa football skill move developed by Ronaldo himself, became a phenomenon in the process and took over the football world.
Harvey Nichols ‘Shoplifters’
adam&eveDDB had a tradition of making high-end slick fashion press ads for its client Harvey Nichols. All that changed when a team that Brim describes as the “least fashionable team at the agency” said they had an idea for the Harvey Nichols loyalty app. They explained they wanted to show people stealing from the store using actual CCTV footage. “Everybody just went quiet,” Brim said. “The team didn’t have a brief, just came in and said ‘oh, f*ck off, forget everything that’s gone before’.” The resulting film not only won two Grand Prix at Cannes, it made a cameo appearance in Trainspotting 2.
John Lewis “EltonJohnLewis”
Brim revealed the pressures on adam&eveDDB when it comes to the phenomenon that is the John Lewis Christmas ad. “My most fearful word is Christmas,” said Brim. “It starts for the agency in January. The only time we don’t have Christmas is December when it is actually Christmas.” Each ad, from ‘Monty the Penguin’ to ‘Man on the Moon’ is an extremely tough act to follow. “Every year you get hundreds of scripts in and it really is quite a hard thing to sift through, because there’s a rule book,” Brim said. “The rules are: no celebrities and no telling other people’s stories.”
The team that came up with the idea of Elton John telling his life story smashed through both of the rules. “It may seem only a little what the f*ck to you guys but to us, to me and the client, it’s not. This [ad] heralds Christmas in the UK. You f*ck with this format and people go for you.”
Brim also paid tribute to other WTF brands, such as Gucci and Nike, and noted the most popular song of all time is the resolutely WTF ballad Bohemian Rhapsody. “Have you heard the f*cking lyrics?,” said Brim.
“What those aren’t are in the 89 per cent and that’s the most important thing,” he said.
In this guest post, founders of The Daily Aus Sam Koslowski and Zara Seidler discuss why in order to stay in the game and keep its user, social media giant Facebook needs to do more to combat hate speech… For young Australians, Facebook is on the decline. Unless the platform better responds to its user’s […]
A brave move has paid dividends for Baskin-Robbins Australia who recently announced they won the award for Best Digital Initiative at last week’s QSR Media Awards. Baskin-Robbins Australia’s Master Licensee, Palm Oasis Ventures took a risk in launching a digital winter campaign targeting a new millennial and Gen Z demographic when it partnered with Netflix to launch season 3 of the streaming giant’s most popular show, the sci-fi horror series, Stranger Things.
Leading eCommerce website development agency, Convert Digital, has achieved the coveted Magento Gold Status from Adobe. This accomplishment has been reached following the agency’s continuing work with the Magento 2 platform - platform that is incredibly robust and offers unrivalled flexibility and scalability.
Influencer marketing agency Born Bred Talent has partnered with the Starlight Children’s Foundation to mobilise their talent roster and support the Stream Raiser campaign, contributing over $95k in donations thanks to virtual fundraising efforts. With a combined reach of 6.2 million across Instagram, TikTok and Twitch, 9 Australian influencers contributed 76% of the $124k raised […]
In 2020, the ‘new wave’ of youth consumers have inspired the world with their activism and fundraising, so eGEN is proud to have partnered with UNICEF, Loserfruit and friends to help gamers fight COVID and help the world’s most vulnerable children. The world’s most famous strawberry will be joined by her Click crew for a […]
Silverbullet Data Services Group (Silverbullet), has become one of only four businesses globally to achieve Adobe Specialisation in EMEA for Adobe Audience Manager. Adobe Specialised Partners are acknowledged as the most skilled technical practitioners throughout the global partner ecosystem. Specialisations are earned after organisations achieve a level of certified expertise in an Adobe solution and […]
Food company General Mills has partnered with Zyper, a marketing platform that connects brands with their superfans, to build virtual fan communities for General Mills’ brands. As part of the agreement, General Mills will use Zyper’s software to initially identify the Betty Crocker and Fibre One brands’ top one per cent of fans on social […]
Facebook is continuing its Facebook Australia Groups Impact Fund, today announcing $500,000 in funding for the program. The grant was originally designated for bushfire recovery groups, however, has now been extended to local communities across the country who might be facing hardship. Facebook said it is on the lookout for groups that have a positive […]