Last night saw us walk up to Kings Place around the back of the newly developing Kings Cross area for the launch of the new Kessels Kramer book: ‘Advertising for People Who Don’t Like Advertising.’ Erik Kessles, KK Creative Director Dave Bell and ad man, legend Steve Henry were on stage to share their thoughts on why they hate advertising and how to overcome it.Erik was up first. He’s a cool customer but there’s a hint of insanity in his eyes, as we gazed at some of the great KK campaigns it’s easy to see what he brings to the work.
There are many ways to make ads if you don’t like advertising.
1. Use humour:
2. Make advertising meaningful and authentic.
The Shoebaloo campaign was a parody of the Calvin Klein ads of the time. To go against their perfect models, KK used handicapped women.
3. Tell the truth
The great work for the Hans Brinker Budget Hotel has had the same strategy for 15 years and has proven to be very fruitful. KK have more than doubled the amount of overnight stays in the worst hotel in Amsterdam as it continues to become… well, worse!
4. Make the most of the small opportunities
This one second film was created by KesselsKramer and directed by Anton Corbijn for TNT postal service
5. Keep your hobbies
Erik has an absolute love for photography and has produced numerous books like Useful Photography, In Almost Every Picture and Wonder; a collection of random people’s disregarded images all of which you can find here. Erik was also asked to do an installation as a part of the Photographers Museum opening exhibition at Foam in Amsterdam. It features print-outs of all the images uploaded to Flickr in a 24-hour period…that’s 950,00 to be precise. Nice idea to portray the future of photography.
The KK website is in constant flux. It’s made of 250 different websites – so each time you visit it appears different.
What more is their to say…. pizza?
A total inspiration and a man who seems to rebel against anything which remotely conforms. He’s a brave pioneer and a true creative individual. Keep these pieces in mind and lose control next time you’re challenged with a brief.
* Moving on quickly to Dave Bell’s Don’t Lectures. Things to not do if you’re working or want to work in advertising.
1. Don’t Letcure
2. Don’t listen to dead people
3. Don’t brainstorm - creativity is all about losing control a brainstorm is all about control
4. Don’t compete to be the best - be the worst and that way you’ll stand out
5. Don’t follow success, follow your values
6. Don’t be afraid to scare your client
7. Don’t retreat from a crisis
8. Don’t be rational be emotional
9. Don’t forget to feed your hobbies
10. Don’t steal, do learn
11. Don’t think digital, think useful – like the website that KK produced for the Talisker Whiskey Atlantic Challenge where family and friends of the competitors could communicate and keep up to date with their loved ones.
12. Don’t work inside your own industry
13. Don’t make people want things, make things that people want
14. Don’t over run
*Finally, the legend that is Steve Henry took to the stage to tell us why he left advertising after 30 years in the business.
“I hate it because it’s safe and boring”
“I hate the people who run agencies know the value of the paper in the photocopier”
“I hate it because we value research too much”
“I hate it because it invades privacy”
“I hate it because it makes people anxious”
“I hate bad clients”
“I hate it because the role of a Creative Director is undervalued”
“I hate it because after 3 years young creative people are broken”
“I hate it because in 2008 when the recession hit, we got rid of all the mavericks, not the safe pair of hands”
“I hate it because it’s an unsustainable demand. We’re not fuelling the economy, we are fuelling greed to the end of the world.”
“I love it because of the creativity”
“I love it because it’s one of the few places where business and creativity overlap”
Steve went through some of his favourite ideas from the cure for cancer being sold in chemists to warn people what they need to fight cancer early to cure it, to a BMW cinema ad where a flash of light made the BMW badge take over the space on your eyelids, to the Hyundai assurance scheme which gave people the chance to give their car back during the recession if they could not longer afford it, their sales went up 15% when all other car manufacturers were struggling.
And finally Steve loved Tony Kaye’s ad for Dunlop tyres because of how brave it was.
Creativity is about breaking the rules.
We’re subjected to 3,000 messages a day and real people remember one a year.
We’re in such a volatile industry where Marketing Directors last about 2 years and clients move agency on average every 3 years. Ad agencies lose about 56% of their clients money every year. For the most part it’s because the people in them think that being ‘safe’ is safe.
“Invisible work will destroy a brand.”
Think about the conversations you have on an evening with your partner or flatmate. You only talk about the interesting stuff that happened that day.
“Weird shit fuels conversation and that’s where we as advertisers should strive to be.”
Ronaldo and Messi are known as ‘code breaker footballers’, who are so hard to play against because they’re so unpredictable.
I asked Steve a question: ‘what would he do if he were to open up an agency tomorrow?’
He said it’s really important to ‘put stuff out there’, to prototype and make things, then see what’s successful and follow it.
He also said he’d love to approach clients who work with other agencies and ask them for 10% of their advertising budget so he could ‘fuck around with it, if it goes wrong then you only lost 10% if it goes well it’ll be brilliant!”
What a guy, what a night, what a book.
Now monkey men and women – go break something!!
Love The YCC x
‘Creativity is bringing something new into being.’ Rollo May
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