White Square | Белый Квадрат




Michael Wilk, Global Executive Director, Serviceplan, Germany, joined BRANDING jury of International Advertising Festival White Square 2021 and was one of the first jury who gave an exclusive interview to organizers, ACMA.

The entries of White Square 2021 will be judged by seven jury line-ups. The jury of this year consists of representatives of the global communication industry who have won numerous awards at the most prestigious creative festivals of the world. It is difficult even to count the number of the trophies they have won, there are only more than 400 Cannes Lions in total!

We are glad to share the meanings and worldview of people in the industry, members of jury of White Square Festival 2021.

- 2020 has been challenging for the communication industry in every country around the globe. What professional experience or lesson that could be named as a discovery have you learnt?

 - Not really a discovery… rather a confirmation: the human being can quickly adapt to certain changes. Working entirely from home was never an option for me - couple of days later I was literally fine in my home zone.

- In your opinion, what are the things in communications, advertising and creativity that stayed in the past forever, and what will remain unchanged for the projects to work properly & effective?

 - There will always be space for a strong disruptive idea - for sure. Additionally I strongly believe in a timeless feature elevating every piece of communication: craft. No matter if it’s a perfectly crafted long copy, a well-designed layout, a strong illustration, a great photography or a thought-out product - if its nicely crafted it immediately relates to a receiver.

- The projects of your agency again and again have been award-winning at international advertising festivals around the globe. Is there any formula for success, or is it like playing in a casino, when you don't know which bet will be the winning one?

 - I am a big-time gambler but if you screen award winning projects you quickly realize that those wins are no matter of luck. Besides the core idea timing and topic is king. And disruption. And craft. And reach. So… there is no formula but a lot of parameters to consider.

- Do you have a project in your portfolio that is particularly special to you, perhaps the one that was a prize-winning at ad festivals, or, vice verse, a project that stayed unnoticed despite its significant results? If so, why this project is so special to you?

- There are a couple but I’ll focus on one. It is a packaging innovation for our ABInBev client Becks. They’ve been providing caned beer for decades but naturally the beer can design was related to something normal or cheap since every beer can more or less looks the same. Having the client in mind who wanted to reach out to a upper class target group including some new event segments like classical concerts or gallery openings we changes the first appearance of the beer can completely. We called it LeBecks - a juxtaposition between a champaign glass and a beer can was a mix nobody could resist. And that’s actually the special part of it: literally all people had a spontaneous positive reaction to the design. Including some award judges, too.

- You are a jury member on the White Square Festival 2021, and you have already been a jury member on various international creativity festivals. Can you name one or more key evaluating criteria of entries for you and why? 

 - Originality. There will be great ideas submitted for sure. But if it’s been done already in the past the idea should not be rewarded. We gonna set a standard for next years communication. Therefore, I think repetition is no option.

- Today, the trend in marketing more and more often involves the desire to create such communication that can be both creative and effective, get high awards at Festivals, and what is more, to change the world for the better. Is it so? What other trends can you mark?

- I don’t know whether the combination of creativity and effectiveness is a new trend. Wasn’t it always the goal to reach as much people as possible with your idea? Did a client ever said “But try not to reach all the people possible“? I don’t think so. I think adding purpose to the agenda is something new, something relevant. Is it really just about a shoe or is there a bigger issue to take a stand for? What is a company’s relevant participation in reducing trash? That opens a new field of relevance and communicational triggers towards activation and participation for a brand/client.

 - The international advertising Festival "White Square" is one of the largest creative festivals in Europe. The business program of the festival includes workshops in marketing, creativity and branding, media & digital, based on speaker's cases that demonstrated high results in different countries markets, and is rich with hot marketing practices and relevant insights around the world. Are you going to give a talk at the festival, and if so, what ideas will you share? 

- Yes, I somehow committed myself to do a talk. I want to talk about mashups, the combination of 2 things not necessarily belonging to each other but once combined opening a new angle and solution to a given challenge. I hope my explanation will be an enrichment for people to shortcut out of tricky situations with the right combination.

- This year the slogan of White Square 2021 is short: IT’S TIME! Do you think, is it worth taking part in international advertising festivals in times of crisis, and why? What would you like to wish the participants, partners and organizers of the White Square 2021? 

- Yes! I think participation in award festivals Is important. Especially for young talents. A well set up award show will provide something we all need in those tough times: inspiration.  So my wish for all participants, partners and organizers of White Square festival: get inspired and stay healthy.

- What would you advice to young agencies to become successful? Does the participation in festivals could help them to achieve their goals? What do they need to stand out from the other participants at the festival?

 - That’s a tough question. Stick to your vision and to your philosophy might be the best answer I can give. An own unique character for your body of work is key. Promoted it if you want to become seen and attract new clients. Social media can help a lot. And Award shows help, too.

- You represent German advertising industry at White Square Festival. Are there any specific features of advertising in your country, or should advertising be universal for any region/country? For example, can projects from your country be successful in Eastern Europe?

 - There will always be the language of course. Several headlines, hints and jokes might only work in a certain region. Therefore, you’ll always have the option to participate in national award shows. Most of the internationally rewarded work got launched in one country but paints a perfect role model picture how a national impulse can become an international movement. Think about the ice-bucket challenge that raised so many awareness plus donation money globally. So therefore: yes - projects from Germany can have an impact on Eastern Europe, too. As long as they share a human truth/finding that’s relevant in both parts of Europe.

We remind you that the call for entries of White Square 2021 is opened online and the entries could be submitted into seven contests, 129 nominations until May 17, for this, prepare your cases, upload them to site and win at White Square festival!