Teo Migdalovici: Mircea Tomescu (Graffiti PR), Hortensia Nastase (Lowe PR) and Ioana Manoiu (GMP PR), Romania’s proposals for Eurobest’s PR Jury

Creativity, Marketing, PR

Mircea Tomescu – Graffiti PR, Hortensia Nastase – Lowe PR and Ioana Manoiu – GMP PR are the three Romanian PR specialists proposed for the PR Jury at Eurobest 2010 by Romania’s festival representatives, as Teodora Migdalovici, IAF representative in Romania, said exclusively for AdHugger.

Teo Migdalovici, IAF representative in Romania, talked, in an interview for AdHugger, about Eurobest 2010, the fact that Romania has a place in the PR Jury of the festival, about The Alternative School for Creative Thinking and the efforts of promoting Romanian marcomm industry.

AdHugger: Eurobest will take place in December, this time in Hamburg. Will Romania have a juror place in Eurobest 2010 jury?

Teo Migdalovici: Hopefully we will have the biggest news ever, Eurobest related. We have strong reasons to believe it. 2010 was a remarkable year for Romania at Cannes – we had a juror there for the second time in the festival’s history, The Practice won a Silver for their Gusto campaign, our students won Gold at Roger Hatchuel and our young clients team won the Honourable Merit in the Young Marketers category.

We also experienced the biggest number of entries since Romania started to take part in Cannes. All in all, we had consistent reasons to celebrate our fifth year of IAF presence.

As you might suspect, great results at Cannes, doubled by consistent lobby, will result in a special Romanian presence at Eurobest.

AdHugger: Can you already tell for which section Romania might have a juror at Eurobest or it is still a secret?

Teo Migdalovici: It is certain that we will have a spot in the Eurobest PR.

We already proposed 3 names, all relevant for the  dynamics of the local PR market – Mircea Tomescu – Graffiti PR, Hortensia Nastase – Lowe PR and the leader of GMP PR. We will soon know who was chosen to represent Romania.

AdHugger: This year is the 1st year when Eurobest has a PR competition. Do you think this move imitates the major competitions that already introduced PR as a contest category or is it the result of a sustained lobby?

Teo Migdalovici: Eurobest, Cannes Lions, Dubai Lynx and Spikes.Asia are all festivals developed by the same British team, on the IAF platform (International Advertising Festival).

PR was succesfully launched in Cannes last year – and I am very proud knowing that we were among the voices that pleaded consistently in favour of having this category introduced at Cannes.

Activating PR at Eurobest was only a matter of time, since Eurobest has the same “organisation pattern” as Cannes. The major distinction between the two is the content of the seminars and works. While Cannes is global,  Eurobest is oriented towards European challenges in communication. Eurobest is not imitating Cannes, as Spikes is not imitating Eurobest. IAF has a winning formula applied to several communication events and adapted to the regional taste.

AdHugger: What are The Alternative School for Creative Thinking’s projects related to Eurobest? Do you have a special school class before Eurobest? Are there any competitions the students are going to be involved in to reach to Hamburg in December?

Teo Migdalovici: Since 2007, we have been sending the best students of the Eurobest semester to the festival, for both competitions and seminars. 2010 will be no different.

Moreover, this year Eurobest is launching the Academy, following the same pattern as the Roger Hatchuel Academy in Cannes.

Last year, in Amsterdam, The Alternative School had the biggest number of young participants at Eurobest. This year we will most certainly send our best team to take part in the competition, and the best student under 23 years of age to the Academy. Next week the entries for the Eurobest semester will be open, hopefully we will have great candidates.

AdHugger: This is the 2nd year in the row when Romania has a juror both in Cannes Lions and Eurobest. How do you comment that?

Teo Migdalovici: This is such a great result that we all need time to process and fully understand its meaning in the context of the Romanian communication industry’s history.

Our website’s homepage is explaining everything so well – “with the right mindset, in the past 5 years we accomplished what couldn’t have been done in the last 50 years”. Everything started with the right mindset, a clarity of our goal and strategy and the knowledge of how to put things into practice.

AdHugger: Why do you promote Romanian communication industry? Is it part of a private diplomacy project? What is this project consisting in?

Teo Migdalovici: This is such a good question – very often people ask me “why are you doing this?” or “what’s in it for you”?

The answer is simple – I think if you don’t like what you see around you, the best thing to do is not to criticize it, but to demonstrate a better way to do things by putting your ideas into practice yourself. Which is what I did when I launched The Alternative School, for example. And boy, did we get fabulous and very consistent results ! This is in itself such a huge reward for all those years of gathering the best speakers and training all those smart, but sometimes too impetuous youngsters. I was educated to become a dedicated teacher and I think I am fulfilling this destiny.

The reason for developing a platform of private diplomacy is related to feeling comfortable when introducing myself as Romanian everywhere I go abroad, as a festival hunter. When I attended a major ad festival abroad for the first time, I felt ashamed by the way Romania and Romanians were perceived. I felt that I had to do something.

Soon I realized I do not live in a country where the officials take the inspired measures, but one where every single individual contributes in his own way. Those were the thoughts. Later came the potential tools. Being the ambassador of the Cannes Lions values brought the opportunity of doing a lot for the Romanian communication industry as well. And since there was no coherent project of promoting our industry abroad, we developed a daring long term strategy. The first years were difficult – there were so many clichés that we had to show had become irrelevant for the evolving Romania.

I am aware that we had ideas that led to some beautiful projects generating new standards for the festivals, but we had also consistent rewards, such as the Romanian professionals that became jurors in the past 5 years. The careers of many people – juniors and seniors alike – have today an exceptional adagio thanks to the platform we have been developing within the Cannes Lions local office.

Sometimes I think that you need remarkable human qualities to do what we do. You may perceive this as a complete lack of modesty on my part, but I personally do not know anybody else in this industry that has the same passion, dedication, generosity ( in terms of time, energy and financial resources), the same willingness to forgive and to sometimes override personal taste in order to maintain a balance of good choices.

AdHugger: Can you give few examples of your ideas that materialized at Cannes or Eurobest ?

Teo Migdalovici: Since we are aware of students’ life and the challenges they face, we proposed to the organizers to introduce a new fee for the students, some years ago. This would have made the dream of going to Cannes more realistic for a junior with limited financial resources. Also, having delegates that are so young would benefit both the industry and the festival. The high standards of the festival create a healthy addiction, and once you have tasted it you are always hungry for more. An open-minded student attending Cannes for the first time will always want to be part of this experience again, and later on, in his professional life, will do all that is necessary to embody the Cannes vibe, as a senior.

This idea was simply “to grow your delegates from a young age”. The organizers loved it and put it into practice. It was a huge honor for us and a good thing for the festival, as shown by the yearly increase in the number of student delegates. The student platform is not that relevant in terms of income, but in terms of  spreading the Cannes experience further and giving young people a chance to be in contact with remarkable figures in communication from very early on.

Another idea I’ve had which I hold dear, and which was implemented at Eurobest, was this: “Why not offer the delegates the taste of  local brands from the different cities where the festival was about to take place ?”. As a festival hunter, you need to explore beyond the doors of the place where the event is taking place, you need to taste the local culture. So why not explore it from the inside of the universe of local brands like Ikea or H&M, since the festival is taking place in Stockholm ? Eventually, the idea crystallized into the “Networking after dark” event, with the delegates visiting the “sexiest” agencies in town, the mothers of all those amazing brands,  after the official programme of the event was completed.

It is kind of funny to see now, 3 years later, the return of this idea to Romania, in such a twisted way. As so many other ideas, if you propose them to the local community first, they will reject it. The same happened with the school project, and with so many others. I treasure Romania, but I simply love the fact we work with Brits. They know when an idea is good, even if bold, they know how to appreciate it, they know how to pay a compliment or how to recognize your merits, when you have them. In so many respects, Romania remains a place for copycats where authentic leaders are hated and followers are praised.

AdHugger: Would you recommend yourself as an nonconformist leader ?

Teo Migdalovici: Leaders are most certainly uncommon individuals. I love this quote saying: “He that leads but has no one following him is merely taking a walk.”.

If I look behind all our big projects – IAF related – such as The Alternative School- or our Bitter almonds projects – such as “Chapeau, Madame” –we constantly have plenty of followers. I enjoy the position of the person that is charting new territories and the challenges that come along.

Competition is good, no matter the circumstances, one might say. But in my opinion authentic competition appears when you have players or programs of comparable value. When “the competition” is copying and pasting your media plan or press releases, or puts more efforts into denigrating or sabotaging you rather than competing, or is inconsistent with its own statements, or, finally, is all talk but no actions, then this cannot be defined as true competition, but just a scared, ego-wounded follower. Funny enough, in our country, even followers are not like abroad, they are more like stalkers. Aggressive, noisy, brutal and kind of Neanderthalian in every one of their gestures.

The best thing to do is to obey your gut instincts and also never react. We do not have time to react every time our media strategy or our press releases or our platforms are copy-pasted. We put all of our knowledge and energy into constantly reinventing our programs and the way we do things. This is what keeps us busy and this is the secret formula of our success.

AdHugger: You were recently a member in The Globes’ jury for the 3rd year in the row. How is the experience? What are the main differences between what happens outside and what happens in Romania, in the marcomm industry?

Teo Migdalovici: The Globes is a worldwide competition for integrated campaigns where the marketing and brand building aspects are crucial evaluation criteria. Creativity is applied within the strategic thinking, going beyond the ad level. I enjoyed judging. All my exploratory years to big festivals proved to have been a good school indeed.

In my view, the best campaigns are not just about advertising, but a living proof of empathy with your audiences and a complex demonstration of beauty mixed with intelligence and courage, a way to build memory.

This is a rare thing to find locally, but when it happens, it’s exhilarating. One example of a campaign that I admire greatly?  The „ING – vis si facut” campaign.

AdHugger: Your favourite creative capital of the world?

Teo Migdalovici: Definitely Singapore, for the complexity of positive factors that offer a perfect playground for the ideas to flourish.

AdHugger: The former student you are most proud of?

Teo Migdalovici: From all 120 students that explored in the last 5 years Cannes, Eurobest or Dubai Lynx both as delegates or competitors, there are many  with a beautiful career, some of them abroad, some in the country.

Still, I am very fond of Mihai Gongu, our first young lion. Only 5 years after experiencing Cannes, he became the Creative Director of the historic agency Graffiti / BBDO. A nice way to illustrate what we love to call “The Cannes effect”.

During her career, Teo Migdalovici won a series of awards and distinctions such as Private Diplomacy award – 2010, Incredible Angel award – 2010, Global SuperAchiever Award – 2007, Brand Leadership Award – 2007, European Excellence Award – 2008 or Stevie Award – 2008.


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