The Practice after-Sabre interview: “It takes determination to do something outstanding”

Marketing, PR

On May 26th, The Practice, Romanian partner of Publicis Consultants | Worldwide (Publicis Groupe), won a Gold Sabre for best campaign in Eastern Europe with Gusto campaign.

PR campaign for Gusto started with a mysterious appeareance of three smileys in the fields near Băicoi. For a week, the drawings were a subject of discution in press and on blogs, without any link being made between the Gusto factory in the city and the smileys on the field.

The Practice’s team that worked on Gusto campaign included Oana Bulexa – Client Service Director, Floriana Cristea –  Junior PR Manager and Gabriela Lungu – Managing Partner.

To satisfy the curiosity about how it is to be in winner’s shoes, Oana Bulexa answered a few questions for AdHugger, giving some inside about what it takes to craft winning campaigns and how The Practice team is working.

AdHugger: What does it take to craft a winning campaign?

Oana Bulexa:

It takes determination to do something outstanding – in terms of creative idea, strategy, executional tactics, everything… As long as you put yourself to work and don’t get pleased with any average solution, but strive for the best one, the results will surely appear: not only the client will appreciate it, but also competitions’ juries.

You never know for sure that you’re gonna win in a competition, but you can make sure that you’ve done your best to deserve being a winner.

Taking Gusto campaign, we strongly believe that without a clear strategy, a simple but sparkling creative idea, a fresh boost in execution, together with tactics that helped the brand become memorable in people’s minds, we wouldn’t have chances to win any prize.

AdHugger: What were the premises you had when you started Gusto campaign? Did you imagine it will have such a success?

Oana Bulexa:

We usually try to keep our expectations to a realistic level, we don’t pre-sell illusions that might not be fulfilled in the end, neither to ourselves nor to the client. So no, we didn’t expect this level of succes but we did know for sure that what we proposed to the client was the very best solution under the circumstances we had. And this confidence in our idea made us realize such a good campaign.

Speaking about circumstances, the story is quite interesting. We had to develop this campaign in a moment when mass media and the general public didn’t care at all about what happened in this category (“pufuleti”). “Pufuleti”, even if very popular in Romania, are like the most banal food category, nobody cares about names and brands.

Well, in this general indifference, we had to first open people’s ears and then make sure they understand and respond to our message. This was the big challenge of the campaign.  But it also had a good part, since it helped us realize at what level this campaign must be in order to be successful.

AdHugger: Do you need to like the product / client to come up with a brilliant idea?

Oana Bulexa:

We always worked for products and clients we liked, we cannot imagine our work otherwise. How can anyone make a good, efficient campaign if they don’t have a positive connection to the brand?

AdHugger: How do you feel now with 2 consecutive Golden Sabre in the agency? How many Sabre Awards did you get in total in last couple years? How did winning those prizes influenced you?

Oana Bulexa:

Actually they were not consecutive, we received the first trophy in this category (“Eastern Europe”) two years ago.

We won the first Sabre Awards in 2008 (1 Gold Sabre in “Eastern Europe” category, 1 Gold Sabre in “Food&Beverage” category and then the Platinum Sabre Award, which is the Grand Prix of this competition, for Best PR Program of the Year – all three prizes for Man’s Day campaign, conducted for Bergenbier). Then we got 1 Gold Sabre in 2009, in “Beverages” category for Common People’s Olympics, done for Prigat. And this year we were awarded in the “Eastern Category” for the second time, now for Pro-optimism campaign, made for Gusto Pufuleti.

Winning prizes is literally amazing. For us, every new prize means a tremendous joy and the confirmation of the quality of our work. But it also means a huge responsibility, as we know we must show ambition in proving we are good professionals and consistent with what we do. Otherwise the fame of any prize would be dust in the wind.

AdHugger: The Practice team is usually perceived as having a lot of fun while working. Is it true?

Oana Bulexa:

We do have a lot of fun while at work, indeed. But we’d rather say we are passionate, because everything we do, we do it with passion: we work with passion, we have fun with passion, we even argue with passion! 🙂  The atmosphere is always very vivid in the office and this keeps our minds cool and makes us come with joy at work every day.

AdHugger: What do the clients appreciate the most at your team?

Oana Bulexa:

What they appreciate the most at our team is probably theirs to say. We like to think they value our “loyal dissent”, as we call it – the fact that we are not “yes” people, we speak our minds for the benefit of the client, not for just giving the expected answer.

One more thing we hope they like about us is the fact that we involve a lot and get very curious about their business and domain, share their joy and worries, which shows them we really care about what we are doing together.

AdHugger: How do you persuade a client accept a daring PR strategy, known being the fact that marketing people aren’t very open to new & innovative but prefer in general to take the safe/already used path?

Oana Bulexa:

Actually marketing people are not that reticent to new & open anymore. Sure you still need to put big efforts in persuading the client to do something out of the box. But this shouldn’t be such a big problem if the strategy is really good and responds perfectly to brand’s needs. After all, we’re all at the same side of the table, the agency and the client.

From our experience the restrains in aproving a strategy, no matter how obedient or daring it is, usually come from other directions: time, budget and so on.

© AdHugger