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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[…]

It is important to figure out what the competition is doing, says Fredrik Carlstrom.

Question: How Do You Build an Advertising Campaign? 

Fredrik Carlstrom: How does it work? Usually you get an assignment, you know? Whether it’s you work together with the client, but they kind of have an assignment. We’re launching this product, or we’re doing whatever. And it’s kind of our job, or the advertising agency’s job is to kind of take all this information that the company has come up with, or that they’ve assembled, and at the end of the day, companies today have to be so specialized in what they do to be competitive. And so I might come to you and say, “You know, we have a new water. And what’s so special about it is that the cap has a...,” you know. And we might say, “I don’t think anyone is gonna care.” So we try to find what it is that we think is what should be communicated. And if you’re lucky, and you’re good, you try to find sort of a platform for the brand to stand on. That is basically position it in a way that is making it different from the rest of the brands, or the rest of the products out there. It used to be, you know, back in the day, you used to talk about having a unique selling point, that a product was unique against the other ones. And today, a lot of products are very generic, so it’s hard to do that. But you can still try to own something. You try to own a position. And so a lot of the work is that. A lot of the work is figuring out what is the competition doing? And try to do something different. And you know, I just came from a meeting now where we’re talking about this company’s position, and they’re trying to go in one direction, and at the end of the day, it’s like, a good position should be free, as in it should be available, and it should be profitable, and it should be logical. You know, it doesn’t make sense if the car company all of a sudden starts doing soap. It doesn’t make any sense, you know? And so those are the kind of things. And then usually it’s a specific thing. You’re launching a product, you sit around, then you come up with a concept, or a platform for this brand to stand on. And usually it, you know, it’s a bigger idea. And we try to be sort of media-agnostic, i.e. we don’t think we’re doing an ad, or we’re doing a radio spot, or we’re doing a commercial, or we’re doing a website. We want to figure out what’s the best idea. What’s the idea that will communicate this to the world? It could be a concert, it could be a party, it could be a website, it could be whatever. And then we try to figure out what that idea should be, and then kind of apply it or let it seep into all the different medias that it could be in. So you think about it, good ideas come up every day. And a good idea can take different forms. I mean, there are tons of books that become movies, or musicals, or songs that become something else. And so some good ideas are by nature, transferrable. And so we try to think very much in the ideas.

Recorded on: 6/12/08