He experienced advertising in Oslo, Moscow, Jakarta, Singapore and Prague; now he's a Creative Director based in London. Lars Killi worked three times in CEE over the last 20 years, in and out, with a total of 9 years in the region. Advertising was easier and funnier when he started, he thinks. But the most important change that influenced the industry was TIME. The tempo has changed and people are working much faster today.
Lars talks new trends, the digitalisation of the industry and the existence of local ad flavour, emphasizing the humour and double-meaning of Czech advertising. He also touches the need for talent and effort regardless of industry developments; that's about the only way to succeed in moving people through advertising.
Versiunea in romana a interviului se gaseste chiar aici.
Your start in advertising
Advertising in Norway was FUN when I started. The advertising school, Westerdals in Oslo, was notoriously difficult to get into. I spent 2 months preparing my application which in part had a practical part where you had to make ads. It was fun. I got in and got one of 12 places.
Why did you choose advertising
As I mentioned earlier, it was a lot fun at the time maybe not so scientific. The TV ads that was winning internationally was very often humour based. We looked towards Sweden and England that had great advertising at the time. The classic Hamlet cigars was from around that time, Saatchi & Saatchi in London made fantastic ads under the Creative Director Paul Arden. Sweden had a great agency called Paradiset that got huge fame for their worldwide ads for Diesel Jeans.
Significant changes in the industry
The Inspiration by great ads and the prosper of maybe being allowed to try and make something that would talk to millions of people. You had to have a bit of luck, getting the foot in the door. First school and then, in my case a place in Saatchi & Saatchi. I think in many ways it was easier to get into the industry at that time than now, but you had to put in an effort for sure. A strong portfolio has always been important.
There was a lot of focus on the copywriting itself when I started. I remember I needed to have long discussion about copy. Print ads was an important part of the mix. This has obviously changed in many parts, but you see a lot of copy heavy jobs coming back in online marketing, blogs and native advertising. Great copywriting is still key: You still have to be talented in order to get someone interested in Bacon or get a faster heartbeat about a butter brand.
It was an easier landscape. The types of media was fewer and TIME. It is incredible to look back and see that you could work 10 days on ONE print ad. Amazing how tempo has changed. You work much faster today. You have more things to consider which again gives you more pathways to express an idea both in paid and unpaid media.
The local Flavour
Over the years more and more local INSIGHTS has been implied in the ads. It is safe to say it is a trend to take an interesting local insights and try to make an ad out of that. I am a strong believer in localised ads it gives more flavour to the media and can be more relevant than an ad made thousands of kilometres away. I know it is not ALWAS true, some great ads can cross every border of course. I would always try to start of a project with a local flavour.
I have worked in 5 markets around the world. If I were to chose the advertising trends of Prague and Czechia, it can be summed up as a very strong wind of double meanings and Czech sayings in the ads. I have never seen this amount of thus type of advertising in any market before. Lots of very local humor based on jokes and double meanings. Very often would not be understood for a foreigner. The telecom company T-Mobile is particularly into double meanings and lead the way. In London you would say: I did not have an idea, so I came up with a double meaning. However, it seems to work very well here. A few years back there was quite a big focus on sexism in the ads, this has changed and has more or less been rooted out. Which is good!
As I mentioned earlier, I believe in a good local ad. International ads will always be there, they are part of the global budget structure, not all brands can localise. Again I must say it is easier to localise today since we have more platforms paid and unpaid. I think professional brands see the effect of having locally made ads in the mix.
Great local ads brings out the best talent and you can better define a good or bad agency. Great agencies makes great local ads.
The factors that influence the industry
There is still a bit of confusion around the digitalisation of the industry. There is a lot of different theories of works and not, which platform is the best etc. I think that it will evolve and evolve. Maybe the most important thing that we see is the DEMAND for return on investment. The worlds largest advertising buyer has been talking very loudly about this for years I think we will see a lot of improvements on the digital side in the years to come. It will be more and more professional in terms of accountability towards the ad buyer.
The digitalisation of the whole industry. We have seen this in other markets. We will see a whole lot of smaller entrepreneurial companies that will be specialist in their field. Later they will be bought up, if we shall believe the same trends apply here as in other places.
Budgets can still reflect a more traditional view on advertising, this is a challenge to break it up and maybe spend money in new areas.
How does technology influence the creative product
Technology is growing fast, very fast. You have a whole set of new people that are eager to show what they can do. The challenge is to prove that the media investment gives a solid return. Many clients are still new on the field of all the new platforms.
The great thing about more focus on technology is that you are talking to people where they are: On their tablets and phones. The mobile penetration is skyrocketing and so does the ads on those platforms. The challenge is to have people on board that are interested in keeping up with the fast development. This is really a focus area.
That the big agencies has started to take the digital trend really serious and have employed more specialists. The offering of digital communication grows rapidly.
Illustrative local campaigns
Náš Grunt: Bees can find sugar where you least suspect it
Lidice. Apparently a computer game that turns into a history lesson:
The bottle for Tereza Maxova Foundation