Cristiana Belodan (Oxygen): “I consider advertising transformed a lot, switched from storytelling to fast food consumption”

Advertising, Business

Cristiana Belodan joined Romanian Oxygen as Strategy & Transformation Director. Her responsibilities include integrating all resources under the company’s new positioning as a full-service agency, developing and strengthening Oxygen’s services, as well as managing the Strategy and Creative departments. As a member of Effie Romania’s jury and International Advertising Association (IAA), Cristiana brings over 15 years of advertising and communication experience to the role. The appointment follows an almost 2-years collaboration during which Cristiana, as Strategic Consultant, led the repositioning process of Oxygen as a full-service communication agency, playing an instrumental role in reshaping its brand identity following its merger with Frank, last year. talked with Cristiana about her new role, taking the decision, how has the advertising changed in the recent years and many other topics we hope you will find interesting.

You met the Oxygen team nearly two years ago. What were your first impressions and how did the collaboration change during the time?

There is one constant element in relation to the Oxygen team, as valid now as it was two years ago: the ambition to evolve. This strong will to develop new skills and to acquire new talents with fresh perspectives made me consider investing more time in working closer together on growing the team and the business. We are still processing the transition period and there is more work to be done, but people at Oxygen are committed to setting the bar higher this year. I can only hope the changes will become visible soon.

What do you like the most about the agency?

I like the freedom of non-linear processes, the fluid and agile manner of developing projects from idea to production without multiple internal layers of approval. The culture of taking initiative, picking up a context and generating proactive presentations for our Clients. The young people that bring green blood to the senior core of the agency. But most of all, I admire the human-to-human strategy of maintaining people close to Oxygen’s heart for so many years. It’s an agency with a high retention rate, in average 7 years for senior roles. And that’s a business case in its own when it comes to team stability & development in our industry. 

What are the values that you both share?

Passion for our work and ambition for taking it further every day.

How has your perception and take on advertising changed over the years and why?

Our industry mirrors a lot the society and cultural changes. Wherever the consumer’s attention lingers, advertising discovers a new media to set a piece of commercial on.

That’s why I consider advertising transformed a lot, switched from storytelling to fast food consumption. From 1-minute brand manifesto TV commercial to YouTube pre-roll versions of the same story. We are all living in a world of speed dating, and advertising had to fit in it. For sure we don’t want to repeat the dinosaur’s extinction story of maladaptation to the new environment.

If you were to go back to the first years of your career, would you do anything different along the way?

Wouldn’t change a thing, I was lucky enough to live the golden years of advertising and the stories I’ve gathered in my young years made me who I am today.  I’d make the same mistakes again, that’s the only way to learn in advertising.

Ok, maybe I wouldn’t drink Coke again while waiting for the first advertising interview, in the lobby of the well-known PepsiCo’s agency (it was back in 2006 when I was striving for a role in the BBDO family.)

I took the job, but it cost me lots of jokes and red years from my future colleagues.

What do you like more about the new advertising? What don’t you like? 

The new advertising is content based, in a brands & people shareholding. I like this broadness in terms of co-creation sources. However, what I’d like to see more often is brands being more creatively courageous than their consumer. With so many new media and means of inspiration, it’s a pity to be flat, dull and irrelevant.

What are your career goals?

I’m at that point in life where assisting and preparing others for success is the main source of growth for my professional path.

What are the trends you foresee for the advertising world in the next years?

I am no future-teller, but I read the trend reports with religiosity. So, I can only hope the “It’s a kindness magic” trend will continue to grow in the upcoming years. It’s a current based on building new ways of doing business that bakes in kindness and empathy at their core. Being eco-friendly, offering value for money, producing high-quality products, treating staff fairly and supporting social causes are practical actions equally applying to our Client’s business, to brand purpose and to advertising agencies, as well.

Do you believe that the lines that started to blur between advertising, PR, marketing will continue to do so? How do you see the future?

This blended integrated form of generating brand communication is already the present, not the future. There are no more disciplinary boundaries in approaching a brief. And that’s where strategy plays its fundamental part: in selecting the most efficient means and channels that deliver best in class results for the business & brands objectives. The future is now, we are already living it, switching daily from mono to stereo in terms of content, media and brand message.

What is your objective for Oxygen in the future?

The most important goal for the upcoming years is turning our brand positioning in reality: a result-oriented agency with a strong creative force that matches brands’ objectives with consumers needs in an impactful, memorable way.

What should clients know about the agency?

We keep our promises, we work hard for your brand’s success and respect the people behind the business.

What type of clients do you target? Do you think also about working for regional or international clients?

We target Clients who know their business very well and need a brand partner. And we’re creating solid premises for long term relations based on concrete brand & business results. Over the past years, Oxygen consolidated its Client portfolio with strong international brands.

How do you perceive the competition?

Crossing swords, in recent pitches, with big names in the market, makes us reconsider our competition. We are playing in new fields and compete for ATL, Social Media, Branding and Integrated Comm projects. Our agility, drive and commitment keep us strong in a highly competitive market.

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