Just as we were getting ready to celebrate our ten year anniversary, it was lovely to see two of our longest serving Socials both being in the news with high profile appointments, especially as they started their careers together – Joakim Borgstrom (Jab) joining BBH as Creative Lead on Johnnie Walker while Edu Pou joined our good friends at Barbarian Group as ECD. Anyway thought it would be nice to catch up with them and find out what they have been up to:
So it’s been 9 years since we first met at Creative Social Barcelona. What have been the biggest changes for you in the advertising industry?
Edu: The rise of social media combined with the omnipresence of smartphones have changed drastically the way people interact both with each other and with the brands. The rules have changed for good, but the goal of building stories with our audience is practically the same.
Jab: Nothing has really changed. People don’t like advertising and are trying to avoid our commercial messages the best they can. We are trying to target them in as many places as possible and it’s getting harder to make them fall in love with our brands.
You both started working together at Double You over a decade ago. What are the key things you learned during that time that have helped in your career to date?
Edu: That there’s someone on the other side. That the audience is active, intelligent, and has more important things to do than playing with advertising. So we better make every second they spend with us worth it.
Jab: Agree. We just need to create things that people care about. It’s not always easy. Advertising doesn’t need to look and feel like advertising. We can be more in the moment and do things that people want to be part of.
You have both worked together at Double You and Wieden & Kennedy? How in no more than 140 characters would you describe each other?
Edu: Jab is a true friend and a constant source of inspiration #thatwaseasy
Jab: Ask Edu before searching on wikipedia. His knowledge and memory is #legendary. #missingyou
What campaign are you most proud of in your career?
Edu: I could find reasons to pick any of the campaigns I’ve been a part of, because I get excited about what I’m involved in every single time – that’s my nature –. But Nike’s ‘Bear in my mind’ is a hard one to match. It was so fresh and ambitious, and was produced so nimbly and cheaply that I was deeply involved with it at every stage. We all were. It was very moving when it took off. Getting the recognition of a Grand Prix in Cannes was the icing on a delicious and unexpected ego cake. Awards weren’t our drive. All the team at DoubleYou worked around the clock simply to produce the best project possible.
Click here for full campaign breakdown
Jab: It was exactly 11 years ago since we started working on that project. It was fun to try to make a bear run, without no budget to shoot or buy any stock footage. I remember that we ripped a DVD and I had to retouch 14 frames of a running bear cub. It was cool to make them run over a page and straight into a rich-media banner. Very intrusive of course…
A more recent project that I’m proud to have been part of is the American launch of the Chevy Sonic. I had the pleasure to orchestrate several unbelievable stunts with the car. We almost lost an account director during the wrap party when we all jumped from a plane and his first parachute didn’t open.
Launching the Chevy Sonic – A Car For Firsts from j@b on Vimeo.
You have both taken big roles in agencies but with very different backgrounds? Do you think the gap has closed between agencies born of the digital era (Barbarian Group) and the more traditional agencies (Wieden & Kennedy)? What are the key differences that still remain?
Edu: Mainly in the output the gap has definitely closed. Amazing projects of any kind can be produced by agencies at both sides of the imaginary line. Something very refreshing about places like The Barbarian Group is the fact that most of the stuff is produced internally. As a consequence, you end up with a very rich and diverse team of amazing hands-on individuals that can’t stop themselves from inspiring each other, and that are hesitant to delegate any part of the creative process. In a way this difference is similar to the tension existing in art between artists like Hockney and Hirst. In my opinion, nothing feels better than owning a project from start to finish.
Jab: There is not much difference anymore I think. The talent today have all the tools to think make whatever they want. Digital is everything and everywhere. Anything is possible. The difference is that agencies that come from the more traditional side of life have it little bit harder. They may be structured in a way that doesn’t facilitate the output of awesomeness. But we are definitely in the era where the best idea wins. It doesn’t matter where it will be seen or run.
What is exciting you most about your new roles?
Edu: Working closely with Benjamin Palmer, Keith Butters and Sophie Kelly, and leading a team of uber talented Barbarians.
Jab: I’m super happy to be part of this next chapter of BBH. I’m working with Nick Gill, Mel Exon, Ben Fennel, Jon Peppiat, Jason Gonsalves and Caroline Pay to push the creative output of the agency.
What is the favourite piece of advertising you have seen this year so far?
Edu: Chasing Horizons by Citizen is magnificent. I love the work as much as I love the team responsible for it. I want to believe I’m not too biased.
Jab: Let me look into my cache-inspiration folder for you…
The last couple of things I found yesterday are “The Other Side” by Honda and Together – LeBron James by Nike:
What is your biggest passion?
Edu: I’m a family guy, so I have to say that my wife and son are my biggest passion… but Barça, and my comic books and vinyl records collections are a close second.
Jab: I’m into walking, not just because I keep walking everyday. I’ve been tracking my moves with the Moves App since it launched. Yesterday I walked 9,728 steps or 7.6 km.
Edu, not sure whether you knew but I am also a huge fan of the graphic novel. What are your favourite graphic novels?
I love most of the vertigo stuff from Preacher to Sandman or 100 Bullets. Scalped and DMZ are great series as well. I love the “Canadians” -Seth, Chester Brown, Joe Matt- and the French -Fred, Lewis Trondheim, Joann Sfar, David B-. Ed Brubaker’s series Criminal and Sleeper are phenomenal. And so is Stray Bullets and Murder Me Dead… Anyway, I’m into a lot of stuff. Best one-shots: David Mazzucchelli’s Asterios Polyp, Jason Lutes’ Jar of Fools, Will Eisner’s A Contract with God… Too many to choose from. Too good to miss [Editor’s Note: Wow. I thought I was a comic book geek – lot’s to catch up]
What’s the best piece of advice you have ever been given?
Edu: Comfort is the enemy.
Jab: Don’t take no for an answer.
We have to a lot of cities as Creative Social. Which is your favourite and why?
Edu: Having lived in Barcelona and Amsterdam, I can say I love them both, but New York has a very special energy that fuels my creativity. After a trip to the city, I’ve always come back home galvanized. I’m very curious to see what will happen to me now that the I’ve taken a one-way ticket.
Jab: I’ve lived and worked in 6 different cities. I miss the lakriz candy from Stockholm, the food from Barcelona, the bike rides of Amsterdam, the start-up mentality of SF, the asados of Buenos Aires and I’m currently learning how to enjoy the morning commutes here in London. When is Creative Social in Buenos Aires going to happen? [Editor’s Note: 2016 I hope]
If you would consign anything to room 101 (ie get rid of something) in advertising, what would it be?
Edu: Templates. I hate formulaic advertising with a passion. It feels lazy and disrespectful to the audience it’s addressing to. As ad people, we probably notice it more in case studies, but at least in this case it’s contained to our – small and endogamous – industry.
Jab: True true. Templates, Toolkits, Testing… basically everything that starts with a T.
What does your desk look like?
Thanks guys. Good luck to you both in your new jobs. And hope to see you at CS Sydney in November 2015