Friday, March 25, 2011

Perfect Fools' CEO Patrick Gardner on Digital/Interactive Media


A short Friday interview! Perfect Fool's CEO Patrick Gardner talked about "Working With Clients" at a lecture for our Digital Media students and we asked a few questions.

Can you, in short, tell us about your lecture today?

My talk covered the agency/client relationship from the perspective of someone who has been managing them for 16 years now, and seen many of the possible outcomes (good, bad and even some ugly). We went through overall themes and issues, and then looked at client relationships from a production process perspective.


Is there anything specific about the client journey when it comes to digital and interactive media that you have to consider?

Digital communication is evolving more and more in the direction of software application development - a lot more complex than it was even 4-5 years ago, when most of what we built was in Flash. But the world of brand communication is not yet culturally equipped to meet this increasing complexity, in fact it hasn't really even recognized that this process is underway.

Traditional advertising agencies have emerged from a world in which two talented people could create a successful print ad in an afternoon, if they needed to. And they're still trying to commission highly advanced Facebook or mobile applications on nearly the same basis, without adequate planning or process. Our challenge is to educate clients and at the same time continually evolve more robust development processes to be able to guarantee successful delivery in the face of many, many risks. It's a rapidly changing picture and an interesting challenge that Hyper students are going to land right in the middle of when they get on the job.


Do you think there any particular features that make interactive/digital campaigns successful?

The best digital work engages instead of interrups - by offering some kind of value: useful information, entertainment, unique relationships, 10% off, or something else of interest to the audience.

It also offers mechanisms for listening to the audience and iterating based on their feedback and cooperation. The key divide between traditional and digital is not the technical difference of atoms versus bits. It's the difference between one-way and multiway communication. In digital environments, we don't just talk, we also have the ability to listen :)


Any tips on successful interactive campaigns to check out right now?

One fun one we've had out recently is Skittles Update the Rainbow (produced by Perfect Fools for TBWA London. This is the kind of work we love: connecting people in interesting ways that are both creative and highly technical, even if it might not seem very techy on the surface.

Lot of love to Patrick & Perfect Fools from Hyper Island!

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