[Adland neighbours] Karolina Galacz (DDB Budapest): "I think there’s an awkward silence. That’s the space of social issues that most brands are afraid to touch"

[Adland neighbours] Karolina Galacz (DDB Budapest): "I think there’s an awkward silence. That’s the space of social issues that most brands are afraid to touch"

"This definitely could only happen in Romania". We think and say this so often that Romania has become the definition of anything flawed. The same goes for advertising. When we speak of clients that 'don't get it', low budgets, stereotypes, fearful brands: a Romanian thing. But that's also the same for courage and creativity with limited resources. So we wanted to see what advertising looks like elsewhere. How the industry has changed outside our borders, what's similar, what's different, what can we learn from others.

We start off by exploring the advertising realm of Central and South-Eastern Europe with Karolina Galacz,Creative Director DDB Budapest. There's more similarities than differences between the neighbouring industries.

Karolina talks to us below about talent migration, low budgets and witty thinking, cliches, the fear that many brands have of taking on stringent social topics, but also about technology, local notes and Romanian creatives.


Versiunea în română a interviului aici.

 

Your start in advertising 

I have always loved to write, but after finishing university, I didn’t know how to turn that into a career. Since they don’t teach copywriting in this country, I didn’t even know this job existed. Until I saw a job posting for it by a small Hungarian agency and thought, „copy, I can write, this sounds doable” and applied. I had no idea what I was getting into. Of course, I fell in love with the industry, hardships and all.

Later on, I was lucky to have had the opportunity to learn from great people. In my mind, I parse my career according to who my mentor was. Probably my two most defining eras were the five years I spent at Ogilvy, where I grew up as a copywriter under the leadership of Will Rust and Ferenc Benesch, and my time spent in Y&R, where, with the help of an amazing network and Jaime Mandelbaum, I won my first Lions.

 

Significant changes in the industry

I started in this industry in 2007, so the recession lives vividly in my memory. 2008 was a turning point and completely reshaped how our audience and our clients spend money. To this day, we live in a post-recession economy, as far as our conscious mindsets are concerned, which is not necessarily a bad thing. What is for sure is clients expect more and more for less and less and our industry has to rethink itself to function well in this new world.

 

The local flavour

For a campaign to be successful, it needs to become part of culture. It needs to migrate from the space occupied by ads into a space occupied by life. We can only achieve that if we build on some aspect of Hungarianness, if we consider the context of what it’s like, in this moment of time, to live and try to get by in this country. In this sense, a local flavour for me is a must for a solution to work. I think this unique Hungarian feel is also palpable in my best work, or at least my favourite ones.

Giformances:

and Every Day a Play:

 

Global and local

Whether an ad moves people or not is not contingent on where it was produced. If a piece of communication is based on a universal human insight and is executed in the best possible form of a great idea, it will touch people wherever, because it can stay relevant and true.

However, it is more often the case in this part of the world that instead of the cutting-edge global campaigns, we localize stuff that was made with no human audience in mind - and that does affect how successful a campaign will be. Whatever we do has to ring true and has to move people. In cases where only local development will achieve that, that’s what we recommend.

 

The advertising business in Hungary

Our business, just like all others in this region, suffers from brain drain. About half a million young people have left the country, trying to make a better life for themselves in Western Europe. This means a huge amount of talent is missing from all aspects and levels of this business and the consequences of that are grave.

With fresh talent, something else starts to dissipate from the industry, too: passion. We need more people who actually give a shit about the work they produce.

 

Local burdens in communication

The market is tough right now. This tends to make companies more risk-averse, when it could (should) make them risk enthusiasts. I see a lack of differentiation and a rule of clichés in a lot of sectors. For our clients to reach a better return on investment on advertising, we need real differentiation, brands acting on a clear and relevant purpose.

We need, using an expression borrowed from Wendy Clark, “briefs with teeth” to be able to make sharper, more different, more ambitious work.

 

How does technology influence the creative product

To me, technology’s influence on the creative product can only be an enhancement, never a replacement - it should never be used as a substitute for an idea. Tech is best not when it’s the most techy, but when it’s the most human. If an AI or a Chrome plug-in make an idea better, we add those to our thinking, but never for technology’s sake.

What I love about new platforms is how they disrupt the way we consume a certain kind of content. To me, that’s a good thing and an opportunity. I loved Vine, for example: who would have thought the funniest videos can be created within a 6 second limit? It was genious. I feel the same way about Coub. If we can get our brands to understand the rules of content on these platforms, we can harness them in amazing ways.

 

Trends

We have a trend that was born out of necessity: a kind of resourceful thinking. We have tiny budgets, so brands can do two things: keep on doing the same old stuff and reach less and less people, or take risks and try to create big impact with more creative solutions.

Of course there are examples for both, but I like to think the tendency is to slowly move towards the better option. I work best with clients that do want to see change in their business results, who understand that in an economy like we have today, you have to think on your feet and make interesting things happen.

 

Hungarian commercials vs reality

Looking at the output of the Hungarian communication industry, I think there’s an awkward silence, a blank spot. That’s the space of social issues that most brands are afraid to touch. How the LGBTQ commnunity is doing, what’s up with healthcare, the challenges of the education system, women’s role in society, unemployment.

I wish more brands would dare to initiate meaningful conversations about these topics. Yes, they are over politicized at the moment, but they are also our audience’s everyday reality and therefore, the context in which our work has to make sense.

 

Local campaigns illustrative to your country

From our country’s recent output, I absolutely love a radio campaign for Fedex, created by a small Hungarian shop, White Rabbit. The fact that they did it for a foreign client is indicative of the small size of this market and the thinking that maybe it’s needed to at times search beyond the Hungarian borders for opportunities.

However, when I look at the literally magical work coming out from some of our neighbours – like Y&R Prague or McCann Bucharest, for example -, their success proves to me that it is absolutely possible to make it from Eastern Europe. I do firmly believe all we need is a little more passion in our industry and we can make this country the next Romania for advertising.

  

Work Bio

  

Bank Forum

Awards:
The One Show 2012 / Finalist / Integrated Branding - Consumer Campaign
THE CUP 2012 / Film / Nomination
Lürzer's Archive Magazine / 2011/3 / TVC 
Epica 2011 / Film / SIlver
Epica 2011 / Campaign / Bronze 
PIAF 2011 / Brilliant execution / Bronze
Golden Hammer 2011 / Film / Gold
Golden Hammer 2011 / Campaign / Grand Prix 
Golden Drum 2011 / Film / Grand Prix
Moscow International Advertising Festival 2011 / Film / Grand Prix
Cresta 2011 / Film / Shortlist
Eurobest 2011 / Film / Shortlist
Included in Best of Ogilvy Volume 3, 2012
Included in the Epica Book Twenty Five

Advertising Agency: Ogilvy & Mather, Hungary
Creative Director: Will Rust and Ferenc Benesch
Art Director: Zoltan Visy
Copywriter: Karolina Galácz
Production Company: Feel Films; Sauna International
Director: Mikko Lehtinen
Stratgic Planner: Martin Alles
Account Director: Svetlana Polyakova
Producer: Nick Hirschkorn;
Line Producer: Dan Cleland;
Editor: Miika Vaso;
DoP: Richard Stewart

Bank Forum

Awards:
The One Show 2012 / Finalist / Integrated Branding - Consumer Campaign
THE CUP 2012 / Film / Nomination
Cannes Lions 2011 / Film / Shortlist
Lürzer's Archive Magazine / 2011/3 / TVC 
Epica 2011 / Film / SIlver
Epica 2011 / Campaign / Bronze 
PIAF 2011 / Brilliant execution / Bronze
Golden Hammer 2011 / Film / Gold
Golden Hammer 2011 / Campaign / Grand Prix 
Golden Drum 2011 / Film / Grand Prix
Moscow International Advertising Festival 2011 / Film / Grand Prix
Cresta 2011 / Film / Shortlist
Eurobest 2011 / Film / Shortlist
Included in Best of Ogilvy Volume 3, 2012
Included in the Epica Book Twenty Five
Featured on Shots.net

Advertising Agency: Ogilvy & Mather, Hungary
Creative Director: Will Rust and Ferenc Benesch
Art Director: Zoltan Visy
Copywriter: Karolina Galácz
Production Company: Feel Films; Sauna International
Director: Mikko Lehtinen
Stratgic Planner: Martin Alles
Account Director: Svetlana Polyakova
Producer: Nick Hirschkorn;
Line Producer: Dan Cleland;
Editor: Miika Vaso;
DoP: Richard Stewart

Bank Forum

This is the story of how we proved being German is useful in finance and makes for neat campaign material, too. 

Awards:
The One Show 2012 / Merit / Out Of Home / Forum Bank: Mystery, Hsyteria, Friday
The One Show 2012 / Merit / Forum Bank / Integrated Banding - Consumer Campaign
THE CUP, 2012 / Film / Nomination / Surprise / Forum Bank
Cannes Lions 2011 / Film / Shortlist / Forum Bank: Surprise
Lürzer's Archive Magazine 2011/1, Print: Punk, Chaos / Forum Bank
Lürzer's Archive Magazine 2011/3, Film: Surprise, Passion / Forum Bank
Lürzer's Archive Magazine 2012/1, Print: Mystery, Happy Hour / Forum Bank
Golden Drum 2011 / Film / Grand Prix / Surprise, Passion: Forum Bank
Golden Hammer 2011 / Film / Grand Prix / Surprise, Passion: Forum Bank
Golden Hammer 2011 / Campaign / Grand Prix / German Style / Forum Bank
PIAF 2011 / Brilliant execution / Bronze / Surprise / Forum Bank
Epica 2011 / Film / Silver / Surprise, Passion / Forum Bank
Epica 2011 / Print / Silver / Mystery, Hysteria, Surrealism / Forum Bank
Epica 2011 / Campaign / Bronze / German Style / Forum Bank
Epica 2010 / Print / Gold / Punk, Chaos / Forum Bank
Included in the Epica Book Twenty Five

Advertising Agency: Ogilvy Budapest ć Ogilvy Ukraine 
Executive Creative Directors: Will Rust, Ferenc Benesch
Copywriters: Karolina Galácz, Alexandra Doroguntsova 
Art directors: Zoltán Visy, Taras Dzendrovskii

Bank Forum

Punk, Chaos, Mystery: the prints

These prints were developed and executed by Ogilvy Budapest for Ogilvy Ukraine's client, Forum Bank.

Awards:
The One Show 2012 / Merit / Out Of Home / Forum Bank: Mystery, Hsyteria, Friday
Lüerzer's Archive Magazine, 2011/1: Punk, Chaos
Lüerzer's Archive Magazine, 2012/1: Mystery, Hysteria, Happy Hour
Lüerzer's Print Ad of the Week (Hysteria) : 2011/48 
Epica 2010 / Print / Gold
Epica 2011 / Integrated Campaign / Bronze / German Style
Epica 2011/ Print / Silver: Mytery, Hysteria, Friday
Golden Hammer 2011 / Print / Gold
Golden Hammer 2011 / Outdoor / Gold
Cresta 2011 / Outdoor / Shortlist
Included in Best of Ogilvy Vol.3, 2012: "Chaos"
Included in the Epica Book Twenty Five
Featured on AdTeachings.com

Advertising Agency: Ogilvy Budapest ć Ogilvy Ukraine 
Creative Director: Will Rust, Ferenc Benesch
Copywriter: Karolina Galácz 
Art directors: Zoltán Visy, Taras Dzendrovskii

Blend-a-Med

BlendaMed: You Can't Help But Smile

Awards:
EFFIE 2011 / Consumer Goods / Bronze

Advertising Agency: Ogilvy Budapest, Hungary
Creative Director: Ferenc Benesch
Copywriter: Karolina Galácz
Art director: Zoltán Visy
Photography: Tamás Dobos
Styling: Ali Tóth
Published: September 2010

Hot Wheels

LIAA, Silver, Use of Illustration, Campaign, 2012
Included in the EPICA BOOK, 2013
GOLDEN HAMMER, Gold, Print, Grumpy, Limpy, Baldy, 2012
GOLDEN HAMMER, Gold, Outdoor Posters, Grumpy, Blady, 2012
GOLDEN HAMMER, Gold, Craft, Photography, Baldy, Limpy, 2012
GOLDEN HAMMER, Craft, Christmas Cards, Diploma

Advertising Agency: Ogilvy Budapest, Hungary
Creative Director: Will Rust
Copywriters: Karolina Galácz, Balázs Vizi
Art Director: Zoltán Visy
CGI Photographer: Thomas Mangold
Published: January 2012

Telenor: "See Myself" App

An emoji keyboard to boost girls' confidence in a country that is in the bottom 10% in the European Union with respect to gender equality.
Launched on International Women's Day, March 8 2016.

PIAF, 2016, Gold, Creating the Media
GOLDEN HAMMER 2016, Silver, Digital
Featured on BestAdsOnTV
Feauted on Shots

 

Agency: Young & Rubicam Budapest
Deputy CD: Karolina Galácz
Head of Art: Zoltán Visy
Art Director: Áron Hujber
CW: Karolina Galácz

Harley Davidson

CANNES LIONS 2014, 3 Shortlists, Press
ADC GLOBAL, Bronze, Advertising, Print
NYF 2014, Finalist, Print 
Published in LÜERZER'S ARCHIVE 4/14.

Young & Rubicam Prague
ECD: Jaime Mendelbaum
CD: Pavel Fuksa, Eugen Suman
CW: Karolina Galácz
AD: Pavel Fuksa

The Holocaust Memorial Center

Ambient installation for The Holocaust Memorial Center. 
GOLDEN DRUM, Silver, Outdoor, 2014
Featured on CREATIVITY ONLINE in March 2014.

Young & Rubicam Budapest
CD: László Falvay
Head of Copy / CW: Karolina Galácz
CW: Dóra Soós
AD: László Kiss

LEGO

Lego: "Reborn Statues"

When two statues of artists were stolen from Hungary's Avenue of Artists and there was no money for their replacement, Lego replaced the two busts with exact replicas, built out of Lego bricks.

CANNES LIONS, Shortlist, Design, 2015
GOLDEN DRUM, Silver, Outdoor, 2015
GOLDEN HAMMER, Grad Prix, Outdoor, 2015
PIAF, Gold, Creating the Media, 2015
NEW YORK FESTIVALS, Finalist, 2016
Pick of the Day @ Creativity-Online
CRESTA AWARDS, Bronze, Outdoor

 

Agency: Young & Rubicam Budapest
Deputy CD: Karolina Galácz
Head of Art: Zoltán Visy
Art Director: Áron Hujber 

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