Radu Pilat: In the future, we’ll be a multi-functional-short-attention-spanned-superficial-socially-obsessed industry

Advertising, Business, People

Heist Industries is a Romanian agency that does advertising different, out of the classic frame and out from the ad break. It is guilty for flooding Bucharest’s subway with poetry, convincing Romanians to pay for their coffee with a few verses and even for building a poetry house where a poet-robot wrote verses on the walls.

Radu Pilat, Managing Partner Heist Industries, answered, for AdHugger, to some questions about advertising industry in Romania and its evolution, about his agency and about ideas and creativity.

AdHugger:How is Romanian advertising now? Where is the local market compared with the European and international advertising ?

Radu Pilat: Romanian advertising finds itself at a crossroad. The crisis  hit hard a few years ago and everybody is waiting for a market revival. Unfortunately just a few understood that this revival  happens only through a profound transformation of the advertising industry itself. Old rules no longer work.The same happened in Europe and all over the world. But the segment of agencies that understood the new rules is bigger than Romania.

AdH: How do you see the local advertising market evolving in 2015? Which are the most powerful trends? What should stay and what should go?

R.P.: I see a big potential in the fields we’re working in: content creation, storytelling, community marketing. I think 2015 should be the year when brands acknowledge that what, up until yesterday, seemed “nice to have” is now the norm. I think classic advertising in its very basic definition should transform in something more relevant for the age we’re living in. So it should „go” and then „come back” in a new shape.

AdH: Where is Heist Industries in Romanian advertising mix? What are your goals for 2015 (creative-wise and business-wise)?

R.P.: We’re pretty young (launched in 2012, never had the physical time to advertise ourselves up until now 🙂 ) and we’re the only agency in the local market focused on community marketing, content creation, storytelling and transmedia solutions. In 2015 we’re trying to keep an accelerated rhythm of growth – both by acquiring new clients and by helping our current ones become bigger.

AdH: What is the difference between working as creative in an agency and working as creative in your own agency?

R.P.: That is an amazing question! First time somebody asks me that. It’s a strange mix. Creative-wise I have always  tried and I still try to do my best. I never present something that I don’t believe in or love.

Fighting for an idea… that’s a different game. It’s not always easy. The client has his arguments, you have yours. You need to understand their business – I’m starting to grow old I guess :). When you’re your own boss it’s a bit more difficult to brutally impose your ideas. I never liked that anyway.

A great idea will be approved no matter how stubborn the client is. If they reject it, there’s a high chance that there’s a problem somewhere.

But, for sure, the most entertaining part of being a creative in your own agency is about engaging with the people. To find them, to take care of them. It is the most amazing thing. And I truly believe that people are the real and most valuable assets of any agency.

Radu Pilat_Managing Partner Heist Industries

AdH: In the ad promotion mix, which are the channels you consider the most important? Why?

R.P.: Each channel has its own value. It’s crucial to use each one according to its features. I think there are formats that are a bit obsolete. Like the 30 seconds commercial. Or the print ad.

It’s important for channels to transform and adapt to the new trends. Yes, if we want to be punctual, digital will grow. But it will also blend into TV. Therefore TV will become digital or viceversa. Social media is really mainstream. Moreover, it will also transform but as a channel social media will become stronger and stronger.

AdH: What is the best way to engage people? How do you achieve that?

R.P.: Real stories, real people and relevance are our strengths. Hacking values from relevant communities and creating branded content are the tools of the present. We are always trying to keep a fresh mind and a no-nonsense attitude. We’re trying to move brands from framed and impersonal shapes into the streets. Into the real world. We’re trying to take people on amazing journeys from real life to digital and/or the other way around. We’re trying to entertain our audience. We’re trying to put up shows instead of implementing campaigns.

AdH:What are the ingredients that cannot miss from a Heist project?

R.P.:It all should start with a powerful insight. The brand should have a strong role in whatever we’re doing. We’re always trying to build programs, assets, projects that stretch wider than a regular campaign. And from which we have a fat cow full of content ready to be milked.

AdH: You have ideas that aren’t following the traditional advertising patterns. What does it take to convince your clients to embrace them?

R.P.:Though is not always easy, as I was mentioning earlier, our industry is on the verge of change. There are clients that are progressive and easily embrace our vision. There are others that consider our doings a bit too niche. However, with every project we achieve strong results, that are visible in reach, in brand indicators and even sales. Therefore, step by step, we will convince the grand majority that our way is the future.

AdH: Client – agency relation. How does that go in your case?

R.P.: We are looking for long term partnerships. This is the only way in which you can truly deliver results and inflict positive change. We never „hit and run”. Long term and close relationships help us understand the business – which I think is crucial – and on the other hand increases the trust of the client.

AdH: What’s your advice for people that want to make a career in advertising?

R.P.: I think you should start by embracing the advertising that has been done for the last 20-30 years. Then, put everything in a closet, lock it and throw away the key. The same goes with the old structures.

I think that in the future all positions will blend. Client service will be strategy. Creatives will be directors. Art directors will be craftsmen. PR people will be VIP’s. We’ll be a multi-functional-short-attention-spanned-superficial-socially-obsessed industry. Therefore they should have this in mind while pursuing a career.