Fools' Gold

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After founding buzz/guerilla agency BlueberryFrog, handling executive creative director duties at sister firm StrawberryFrog then leaving the amphibious life to go independent and spearhead a notable global campaign for K-Swiss, Mark Chalmers is returning to the agency world for a senior partner post at international digital outfit Perfect Fools.

In his role, Chalmers, who has been entrenched in Amsterdam for the past several years and still continues to co-run his digital collective outfit Creative Social with Profero's Daniele Fiandaca, will coordinate business across PF's Stockholm and New York offices, handle business development matters in Asia and help build up Perfect Fools' local Amsterdam office. In between his whirlwind adventures, Chalmers took the time to explain his attraction to Perfect Fools, his new role and the technological implications that'll affect his upcoming work.

What attracted you to Perfect Fools?

I've come from the front end of the advertising business in StrawberryFrog to what many may consider is a company at a different end of the spectrum in the industry.

Perfect Fools has a very strong heritage and identity in creative digital production--not only an essential service in today's business but the way the advertising industry is going. Modern-day products are intrinsically linked to how we hear about them or experience them - their communication is very much part of their product - and so brands are going to continue to cherry pick the specialist partners to assist them, Perfect Fools being one of these and one of the world's best.

Above all, I genuinely like Perfect Fools' people. Work is sort of play these days, isn't it? So it's important.

What do you hope to achieve as senior partner?

I can bring my experience from the more client-facing 'typical' side of the industry to the Fools. We'll meet in the middle. Digital production no longer sits on the desktop, but in our mobiles and beyond - we'll extend our services into new technologies and products to our direct clients and agencies alike. [Perfect Fools co-founder] Tony Högqvist is a huge preacher/ advocate of craft in this arena so we'll work hard to deliver this in this wider remit.

What is your strategy for coordinating business between Stockholm and New York? Will they work independently or together?

Perfect Fools is already seamlessly coordinating business across Stockholm and New York and adding Amsterdam will provide another station. We work in an age where, for delivery of high-end product, location doesn't matter. But this is a people business and we utilize our offices to offer our staff choice and inspiration. The culture here in Perfect Fools is strong and maintaining that is key to our ongoing success.

What will be the specific challenges and opportunities in setting up business in Amsterdam and developing business in Asia?

Amsterdam is pretty familiar territory for me through having set up BlueberryFrog back in 2000 and it's been my home for the last 8 years. The challenge with extending any business is to extend and maintain the identity and culture.

Are there some recent spots/projects that stick out in your mind that you're most proud of, and why?

I actually partnered with Perfect Fools to deliver the global campaign for K-Swiss that launched early this year. We're proud of this. It was not only a successful product campaign, [but] the way we created it is very much a reflection of our efficiency. Shooting with a Phantom HD High-Speed digital camera capable of 1500 frames per second, we edited live inside the studio, delivering a programmed demo to our client the next day.

What technologies/platforms will affect the digital work you do in the coming months/years?

Improved GPS technology will without doubt be a big one, the one with the biggest impact on our lives. It should change what we experience as we walk down the street, maybe if we're lucky cut out a lot of the rubbish we don't want to see or experience. Creative Social is currently writing a book and Flo Heiss of Dare's chapter is on filters. For the past decade, it's all been about getting what we can from the web but it's soon to be about blocking things out. Information will come to us and GPS will play a physical role in this, where we are and therefore what we get. We can theorize and predict the important technologies but the reality is we don't really know for sure. Look at the social networking apps that have sprung out at us, something else will surprise us tomorrow.

If you weren't in advertising, what would you be doing?

Indulging more in art.
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