Creative journeys: My week in Bucharest

How do we continue to develop and harness creativity in our industry? It’s a question with myriad answers, but one thing we can do as creatives is commit to lifelong learning.

As part of these efforts, I took the opportunity to work alongside creative counterparts at GMP Advertising, friends of the agency based in the Romanian capital, Bucharest. A fascinating city which straddles historic notions of east and west with an intriguing mismatch of Art Nouveau architecture and the utilitarian influence of the Soviet era, it proved to be an energising environment to explore the ways other creative agencies work.

GMP was formed in 1998 by Felix Tataru and is now one of the biggest agencies in Romania, employing over 70 people, including over 30 people split across two teams in the creative department. Similar to One, they’re an integrated agency with Digital, PR and Social Media divisions all working on a wide variety of high-profile clients and winning numerous awards.

As an Art Director, this was a brilliant opportunity to immerse myself in the city and the agency, speaking to fellow creatives, finding out how they work and discovering the similarities and differences to how we work here at One. GMP work on projects for some big names in Romania – Timisoreana, a large Romanian brewery, Rompetrol, a chain of petrol stations and, Press One, an independent publisher, were the projects I contributed to during my week-long stay.

The latter was particularly interesting. The campaign was called Traiasca Capra Vecinului, and was based around an old Romanian saying, “Sa moara capra vecinului”. The phrase is a comically deadpan retort typically uttered by farmers to their neighbours when their livestock dies, “I hope your goat dies too”. There’s nothing like blunt, intra-farmer rivalries to inspire a campaign…

Press One started an initiative to challenge that sentiment, flipping it to “Traiasca capra vecinului” or “long live your goat”. They created five human-sized goat statues, anthropomorphised and decorated to represent different aspects of the press industry, and then gifted to competitor organisations. They were amazing creations, sculpted first in Styrofoam, of which fibreglass moulds were made, and then painted to look like bronze.

The statues are meant to encourage friendship and collaboration between rivals, and this has been pushed out further with well-known competitors such as McDonalds and KFC, and Porsche and BMW getting involved on social media. It proved to be a very successful campaign generating plenty of engagement and it’s almost certainly set for award recognition. Moving beyond its marketing impact, it served as a great example of the way that culture can inspire creativity and birth original, striking and ultimately engaging work.

Of course, on top of the professional insights, it was a fantastic chance to socialise with our European friends, discover contemporary art at Muzeul de Artă Recentă and sample the local schnitzel. Oh, and do some craft beer ‘research’ – the Zaganu IPA was a corker.