The Cannes Q&A: Kobi Barki, ECD Shimoni Finkelstein Draft FCB

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Kobi Barki, ECD, Shimoni Finkelstein Draft FCB
Kobi Barki, ECD, Shimoni Finkelstein Draft FCB
First off, congratulations on the prize (a Gold Lion in Promo and a Bronze in Direct).

(Watch the work)

The last thirty years Israel took only two Lions, so it's a big jump for the industry. We're getting a lot of press in Israel. I became the most awarded Israeli creative in one year [laughing]. Now it's exactly two years since I joined DraftFCB; the first year was trying to shake things up, understand the clients. It's a process. The whole industry is 700 million, so it's really small.

What do you think the judges saw in "SMS for Lunch"?

What one of the judges said in the ceremony was it was very simple, engaging, there's a sense of technology; it integrates cellular and the internet in a simple way, making the charity something like a game, a reward. it's almost a game That's one of the values. Usually people who give money to charities, they don't see where it goes. Even though this is a metaphor it was very precise [as to it's destination]. Lots of other places asked me about the application in creating an interactive banner that responds to SMS--I think this is one of the strengths of Israel, the hi-tech industry is one of the best in the world. I think if we can integrate technology and content and ideas together, from that perspective Israel can be a player in this category.

What needs to change in order to put more of this work on the plate, so to speak?

We need a whole new generation; it's a mind shift, a deconstruction of what's happening today, from top to bottom, from creative directors to even people who run schools. The mentality has to change. There is no power with the client; it's with the agencies. But still there's a kind of dynamic that gets a very specific kind of work. When you propose something else they need to learn how to work with that. Because it's a small country, and because of the political situation the evolution of the brand is disturbed. The second Lebanon war, everything stopped. First, in some places, people doing work--at all--you cannot run metaphors on TV when there is a war situation, everything becomes realistic. It definitely doesn't help. What you're getting in the end are pretty boring, hard sell messages. And it's weird, because all the major networks are in Israel. Kevin Roberts came and made a lot of noise at a conference when he said 'yesterday i watched in the hotel television here and all i saw was crap commercials.' Two years ago, or a year ago, Maurice Levy said there was not even one talent in Israel that can work in France or the UK. It really shows that nobody cares, there's definitely no passion. All the structure, we have to do it from scratch. I think the rhetoric of the industry has to change, I think that we are, as an industry, hiding, too many years, behind the big idea. Now, when the telling and selling doesn't work anymore, go for an alternative. We can't rely on the big idea anymore. We really have to work it out. They are already looking for alternatives, like UGC, they're looking all over.
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