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What Advertising Campaign Are You Most Proud Of?

Question: What Advertising Campaign Are You Most Proud Of?

Fredrik Carlstrom: Yeah, I mean, there’s several. There’s-- you know, I thought about it the other day coming here, and also sort of just getting married, I suppose. I thought about my life and what I’ve done. And I realized that all the stuff that I’ve always been doing is producing-- sort of being a generalist, I suppose. Not good at particularly anything, but sort of knowing a little bit about a lot of things. And then producing some sort of content. And one of the first things I ever did was just partly the reason I got to start that agency, or we started that agency is we had the newspaper, I mentioned earlier, and they wanted to sell more ads. And so it was a business-to-business kind of assignment. And they went around with their kind of demographic pie charts about how affluent their readers were and stuff like that. It was just pretty boring. And so what our idea was, we went to London and we met some of the most sort of prestigious advertising people in the world. Some of the most accomplished people. And we asked them about print advertising. And they were all copywriters, so they loved it, and they grew up with it. So they were all talking about how print was important, and how the written word, and blah-blah-blah. And we made this magazine. So it was a 52-page magazine about print advertising. So all of a sudden, the newspaper, instead of coming with the pie charts, they had this beautifully produced magazine, that they could go to all the advertising agencies, and all the advertisers and the media buyers and say, “We went to London and we met David Abbot. And this is what he has to say. And here’s a magazine.” And of course, they were the coolest newspaper in the world. Everybody loved it! And all the creatives wanted to have an ad in this newspaper. So I think that’s a good example of not intrusive media. You know, you read it or you don’t. And I picked up-- I read it a couple of weeks ago, and it’s actually like pretty good. You know? Even ten years after, it’s actually-- it has a right to exist.

Question: Have you ever backed out of a campaign because it was too intrusive?

Fredrik Carlstrom: Yeah, I’ve backed off campaigns for many reasons. My main reason for backing off-- I guess intrusive is a word with sort of double meaning. I wouldn’t necessarily mind having-- I probably would actually. I think the sound thing is interesting. I just don’t think it’s particularly effective. I think at the end of the day, I think, I mean a brand is what you tell-- a brand is what people say when you left the room. That’s what a brand is. And so what do you want-- if you come to me and you’re a client, and you say, “Let’s like have a big thing, and it yells in your ear, and you wake up!” I would probably be like, “Would you want to be that guy? Would you want to wake me up with a megaphone?” And so I don’t think it’s particularly effective. It’s like being a good friend. Or being a good-- I mean, the best thing you can do as a person, I suppose, is like-- imagine if I said to you when we leave, “Well, you should check this band out. Or you should read this magazine. Or you should go to this new store on the corner.” And you go, “Okay, great!” And you go down and you buy the CD, or you read the book, and you love it! And you’ve discovered a new author or a new brand or a new store or a new song or a new group. You’ll be like, “Fredrik is a really good guy. Like I love this song!” and you bring it to your friends, and all of a sudden I’ve given you something that-- and if I could do that without you feeling like I wanted something from you, you’d start trusting me. My opinion would matter in things. Next time I called you up and asked you to, tip you about another song, you’d probably listen. So as a company, you probably-- you know, whatever it is you do, you want to be the authority on that. You want to be the guy or the girl who’s the authority on flying airplanes, or being the carrier of wireless service and stuff like that. And I think that that’s responsibility that you have to take serious. And I think a lot of companies don’t. And that’s intrusive, too.


Recorded on: 6/12/08

Carlstrom talks about launching a magazine about print advertising.

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