NABS Fast Forward 2017 week 3: Verica Djurdjevic on Connections

Words by James Stevens, director of digital design at Sky and Fast Forward mentor

People don’t give a shit about advertising.

That’s how Verica Djurdjevic opened her talk at week three of this year’s NABS Fast Forward Programme.

Hardly the inspiring words young adlanders should hear, surely?

Wrong.

It’s exactly what they should hear: because it underlines a stark truth.

Advertising may be simple, but that doesn’t make it easy.

In a noisy, noisy world, getting any level of attention is hard.

Bloody hard.

And that challenge is what continues to drive the creation of outstanding work.

What followed from Verica was nothing short of a masterclass in comms planning; a view and approach that underlines what a vital role it plays in the creation of the type of work we all hope to make.

Verica talked about how comms planning is a matter of answering five familiar questions:

Who?
What?
Where?
When?
How?

Yet, it’s the unique approach to answering these questions that has resulted in such a catalogue of greatest hits for PHD.

Hits like the Lego ad break, Oreo Eclipse, and the British Heart Foundation’s ‘Stayin Alive’ campaign.

That unique approach?

Rhythms.

The rhythms of people’s lives.

Understanding what makes people tick: their habits, their likes, their behaviours, their lives.

Technology has handed us quantities of data that advertisers of yesteryear would have never thought possible.

And it is this data that offers the opportunity to paint a richer picture of people’s lives than ever before.

What struck me most was how, for PHD, a truly thorough approach to understanding the rhythm of people’s lives is all-encompassing.

It’s an exhaustive exploration of correlations and causations.

So briefs from financial services companies result in looking at the day of the year when the most babies are born.

And briefs about raising awareness of heart disease result in a partnership with Coronation Street.

Accessing the data is simpler than ever.

But turning data into brilliant insight remains as hard as ever.

Judging by the variety and volume of questions asked by delegates after Verica’s talk, it remains as enticing a challenge as ever.


Categorised in: , , ,