Fredrik Carlström is the Chief Executive Officer and Executive Creative Director of Great Works America, a full-service digital marketing and communications agency that represents a diverse range of clients including Absolut Spirits Company, H&M and Nokia. In his dual roles, Carlström, a veteran marketing executive and acclaimed film producer, utilizes his deep and broad experience in both marketing and entertainment to spearhead Great Works America"s mission to create innovative and cutting-edge campaigns that engage consumers and encourage them to interact with leading brands.
Carlström joined Great Works America in February 2007 when the company opened in New York and signed an exclusive partnership with Carlström"s Third Factory, a film production company — the first deal of its kind between an advertising agency and a film production company. This partnership marked the transformation of Great Works America into a marketing agency that bridges the worlds of advertising, art, media and entertainment.
Question: What is your creative process?
Fredrik Carlstrom: Usually, I panic. And now I’ve been doing this so long I take sort of great comfort in the panic, ’cause I know that it’ll be fine. I think a lot of people feel that way. Or at least I do. And I feel kind of, “Shit, they’re gonna figure it out. I’m a big bluff. This is it.” And then you kind of snoop around, and you look around, and you think about it. And usually, you have an opinion. And it could be the wrong one, but you usually have an opinion about things, or you have some gut feeling about things. And I think really good advertising is that. It’s basically taking, you know, small phenomenons, or little things that you feel about something. Or you know, you had a fight with your girlfriend, and you think, you know, “Well, why did I do that? That was dumb.” And then you kind of blow that up into an ad or something else, and other people recognize themselves in it. David Abbot [ph?] is one of the best copywriters in the world. I met him once and he was saying-- he was talking about an old British telecom ad that he’d done. And he was basically, he recognized that he would call his mom when he knew he only had five minutes to talk. He was on the way somewhere, a meeting. And he thought to himself, “It probably hurts her that she knows I only call her when, ‘I have five minutes, Mom.’” And so he wrote an ad about it. And it was very successful. People were really kind of, “Yeah, I do that, too.” And it was basically like, “Take an hour and call your mom.” And it was so simple, and it’s so kind of basic. So my creative process is panic, and then kind of you go to your own feelings and you talk to people, and you look around, and then you kind of come up with something.
Recorded on: 6/12/08