At the ages of 16-17, Evgeny Primachenko (Copywriter, Wieden+Kennedy Amsterdam) could've become anything because he didn't really know what to do with his life. He just wanted to work, whether it was waiting tables, changing tires or - best case scenario - giving massages to supermodels. But advertising kind of found him and served him well, by reaffirming his need to tell good stories to people, which is all he'd ever wanted to do.
And his stories are indeed good, as it's been agreed upon time and time again at Cannes Lions, Golden Drum, Epica, Eurobest, Clio, London International Awards, Art Directors Club of Europe or the Art Directors Club of Netherlands.
But Evgeny doesn't judge his work according to its number (or lack) of awards and doesn't want you to do that either. What he does want you to do: focus in winning awards accidentally, not intentionally, keep your cases shorter rather than longer, drink responsibly and call your parents more often.
Evgeny Primachenko spent 5 years making ads in Russia at Voskhod, at first as Copywriter, then Deputy Creative Director. In 2012, he moved to W+K Amsterdam. And, in 2016, he's coming to Romania to judge the FIBRA Awards. Let's get to know him through his own words.
How did you end up in advertising?
I was 17. I was living in Yekaterinburg. And I was in need of a job. Not that romantic, really. I wish I could say that advertising was my calling, but it would be a lie.
Like any other 17 year old lad, I had no idea what I wanted to become. I just wanted to do something. It could be serving burgers, pouring drinks, selling tour tickets, teaching people how to swim, changing winter tires, giving massage sessions to super models (I wish)… It happened to be making ads.
I am happy that I wandered into the ad industry though. It’s the best thing you can do with your clothes on, as someone great once said.
Ads that had a mark on you
There was actually not a lot of ads around when I was a kid, considering that I was born in Soviet Union times. But I remember the spot that wowed me when I was a teenager. That was Guinness - "Surfer". I watched it and I was like: “I had no idea you could do that in ads!”.
It’s made of pure visual poetry and peppered with some of the finest words ever written. Art, not ad. And at the same time, it is celebrating the product big time.
You know, I believe that there’s one thing in creative process that is very hard to manufacture. It’s something that sometimes just… kind of happens. Magic. Stars aligning and sparking unexplainable greatness in every aspect of the project. Guinness - "Surfer" is pure magic.
To dos while working in advertising
Honestly, I just want to tell good stories to people. Not sure if it qualifies as “an objective”, but that’s all I ever wanted. My father always told me “make sure that you make people laugh more often than you make them cry”. I hope I am not letting him down.
I like to attack briefs starting with a will to create something that is doomed to be a failure. Something so stupid and naive, that it has about 0.00001% probability to actually be made. A beautiful disaster, a fairy tale, a dream of an idiot.
Then I move on and become a grown-up. Ha ha.
But it sets up the creative process on an interesting path, the one that lets you entertain thoughts you would never consider if you weren’t fooling around in the beginning. Walk in stupid everyday and fail harder. These are my favorite Wiedenisms.
The story of your first campaign ever
To be honest, I don’t remember what was my first campaign ever, it was more than a decade ago. But I am sure I would feel weird about it now.
I mean, I feel weird even looking on my photos from 11 years ago. I had a mullet.
Advertising in Russia vs. the Netherlands/Western Europe
People speak, write and think in a different language. That alone creates a huge difference. Also, here in W+K we tend to have longer projects. Sometimes, we can easily work on one campaign for a year. You have to shift from running sprint distances to marathons, figuratively speaking. The positive side of it is that you have more time to craft the hell out of your work.
But on a larger scale, I think that both Russian industry and the Dutch one are driven by the same goals and beliefs.
I like ad shows. They bring people together and create good connections.
In terms of competition, the best way to win awards is accidentally, if you know what I mean.
It’s also important to remember that receiving an award for your work doesn’t make your work better. Just like not getting it will not make your work any worse.
Romanian advertising. Campaigns you're familiar with
It’s great. The best stuff in Eastern Europe comes from Romania, for sure. I think that the Romanian advertising industry has some serious cojones. I am looking forward to getting to know it better. Super exciting! In terms of campaigns I know, there are many. I am a big fan of Ghita, for example.
Judging the FIBRA Awards
I just hope to see good work, really, and get inspired. Inspiration is the greatest thing you can bring back from an ad festival. And it doesn’t matter if you’re judging it, participating in it or just attending it.
Advice for the ad people who will submit work for the festival
Don’t make case studies too long, don’t drink too much and call your parents more often.