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17th October 2019

Happiness Makes the World Go Round

In its third year, IAA Romania’s Creativity4Better conference in Bucharest seems to be developing into a real fixture on the international advertising circuit, having even overheard someone boldly describing it as ‘A Mini Cannes Lions’.

But whilst Cannes Lions indulges the advertising and creative worlds and where award entries and the rosé can only really be afforded by the big agencies, Ceativity4Better seems altogether more honest about the vital and society-changing role creativity plays in our industry (and beyond) in both emotional and practical terms.

Bucharest, nicknamed the ‘Paris in the East,’ is a surprisingly apt place to have such lofty creative visions in part because of its beautiful, elegant architecture but also because its totalitarian past forced Romanians to be creative as a way of survival under the oppressive Nicolae Ceau?escu regime.

And 30 years on the National Opera was packed full of young and attentive marketers eager to hear from star-studded presenters travelling in from all corners of the globe.

The inimitable Rory Sutherland, VP of Ogilvy, was one of the visionaries to make the trip and where he launched his new book, Alchemy: The Surprising Power of Ideas That Don't Make Sense’ on the eve of the event. Onstage he talked of how so often marketers forget consumers’ real motivations and that in an age of accountability perhaps the spontaneity of trying something different as been forgotten.

In a compelling presentation he gave example after example (which can be found in his book!) of how marketers do one thing, while consumers want another. The individual (and very often common sense) seems to get lost by looking at the ‘average’ in today’s data-filled environment and he proposed that marketers should go back to basics, starting with the end goal first and then working back to the beginning. It seems obvious, but it’s amazing how often this is not the case 

Indeed Bruno Bertelli, Global Chief Creative Officer of Publicis Worldwide, agreed and confessed that probably his hardest job was trying to get big clients to think differently as so many large marketing organisations – and Publicis works with some of the biggest brands in the world - are stuck on a creative cycle juggernaut unable to adapt and change to the fast-changing world around it.

Indeed Mailine Swildens, Director at Google for ZOO in EMEA and Chris Barton, Co-founder of Shazam spoke of opportunities and challenges of the merging of the physical and digital worlds and the importance of innovation of seeing trends and technology early, respectively. Did you know for example that Shazam was founded 2 years before iTunes?

But it was Geoffrey Hantsen, Chief Creative Officer of the agency ‘Happiness’ which sparked my attention most. His agency thinks following an ethos of ‘happiness’ helps people relax to allows their ‘inner playful child’ to surface aiding a virtuous cycle of creativity.

Legend has it that Bucharest was named after a shepherd called ‘Bucur’, which serendipitously translates to ‘happiness’….

Will Nicholson, Head of Content, IAA UK

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