I had a great meeting with Bjørn Karsholt, the director of DRRB (Danske Reklame- og Relationsbureauers Brancheforening), the danish advertising association today. The agenda was first and foremost if STAGIS should join the 80-odd agencies in the association. I thought about that since 1997, the founding year of "Stagis Advertising Agency" as we were called back then. Once in a while (lets just say not every year - but still a couple of times) I've been considering the idea but it never really seemed convincing. And then in 2002 I changed the name of the game as well as the company. If one of my dear ones from STAGIS calls you they'll say "...from the design- and communications company STAGIS..." (or some derivative thereof as it tends to be quite long...!). There are a few reasons for this change. First of all I believe that we live in times and await a future in which the idea of "reklame" is finding less and less of a raison d'etre, both because of the technical levers it's using and because of the belief-system behind it.
As my mentor Mogens once explained (pardon if you find this too far-fetched, it's a specialty of Mogens - check the 1986 entry of his CV and you'll understand why, personally I love it because it makes so much sense): The danish word "reklame" which is used in the sense "advertising" derives from (I'll leave out a two other explanations incl. the american as they don't really suit my purpose here - blogging is subjective bliss) the latin "clamo", "I scream" and "re", "repetition", hence repeated screaming.
No wonder if you channel-surf when you see the same happy-jumper baby smiling all happy because of the new Pampers crossing your TV for the 235th time.
It builds "top-of-mind" and a million books have been written about it. I too remember Pampers but haven't bought a single one. Because I don't need it. Some are starting to argue that things are more complicated, there's more to life than repeated yelling and top-of-mind. So a few years back I thought I'd try and do something that goes a bit beyond happy faces and repeated claims. Something that involves people, helps them talk, collaborate and express who they are. Let's keep it short this time: Communication comes from latin "Commune", meaning "Community". As Mogens blessed it, "leave it to Kunde and the others to undertake their hillbilly understanding of branding - you do identity, Nikolaj, the real thing!". Or as we would later call it; Authentic thing.
Back to the meeting: But all these blokes don't do innovative stuff, I claimed, they just do ads and more ads and as my old art director-mentor Jan used to say "same shit, other wrapping". Bjørn didn't agree. One of our members helped Interflora start delivering wine instead of only flowers, he replied. Touché, Bjørn! (I didn't bring into the conversation if they could please expand their 1-hour-service to include roses - seems like a good idea if you want to send roses to someone on a sunday or any day for that matter and feel that life is too short for letting LOVE wait another day)
We've already got the legal advice we need, the car-rental is cheaper through our filmproduction-company-deal, the insurance is not going to get cheaper... The list goes on forever. So, left to consider is the idea of more network (with the "re-claimers", not to forget, there's even a network for the young agency-owner-types like me) on one side and the hazard of becoming associated with the group of businesses that have a reputation ranking somewhere between used car salesmen and the real-estate agents. But hey, maybe I'm all wrong here? Maybe our clients (or the ones we don't have yet) will consider STAGIS much more interesting if we're part of DRRB? Maybe everyone will start calling? What do you think? Should STAGIS join?
Clamo, clamatis, omnes clamamus pro glace lactis!
PS: I've put this post in the category "Creativity in Business" - the question is wether this is the right category for the danish advertising agencies?