June 9, 2010

Best of Bastholm

Well, the rumours were true. Lars Bastholm, Chief Digital Creative Officer of Ogilvy North American has been appointed overall Chief Creative Officer. You can read the full story on Adweek here but essentially it’s an amazing move for an agency like Ogilvy, putting their money where their mouth is when it comes to the importance of digital.

Visual by Diego Zambrano

To mark this occasion (and to do a little hero worshipping) I am starting a series profiling some of the industry’s great digital creatives… starting with Lars.

I met Lars back in 2001 when we were both judges at the Cannes Cyber Lions. He came across as quietly spoken, intelligent and extremely likeable. Not something you could say for all the jury members. By 2001 Lars already had a number of Cannes Lions under his belt from his years at Framfab. Projects like Nike Women and Nike Freestyle really were ahead of their time in terms of production values and technical innovation.

After winning 3 Cannes Grand Prix and many other awards, in 2004 Lars left Framfab to set up the New York office of AKQA. His work included pitching for and winning accounts like Coke, Smirnoff and Motorola globally. He continued to lead projects for Nike including innovative mobile apps like Nike PhotoID.

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Here is a video interview from Lars while at AKQA. His comments from 2007 showed how digital advertising/marketing would evolve in the coming years. AKQA were already doing a lot of the things many brands are only today starting to explore. This interview (also from 2007) for the FWA gives us further insight into his thinking….

Where could Lars go from here? The surprise came when it was announced that he would join Ogilvy New York. Not only were Ogilvy looking to hire a true digital leader but they were impressed with his approach to brand communication no matter what the medium. For example, here are 6 tips from Lars about mastering the art of social storytelling and inviting consumers into the conversation:

  • Look at any marketing effort as the beginning of a conversation.
  • Closely monitor the conversation and be ready to respond to consumers.
  • Provide consumers with tools that help them carry on the conversation for you.
  • Leave room for consumers to interact. Make sure your creative universe is big enough that there are unexplored areas.
  • The conversation is over when the consumers say it is, not when the media plan (or the budget) says it is.
  • Listen and learn from the feedback loop.

Asked why he chose to join Ogilvy Lars said:

“It is becoming obvious that marketing shouldn’t live in silos. Consumers don’t distinguish between what’s in which channel, when they shape their perception of a brand. Nor should they,” said Lars Bastholm. “My reason for joining Ogilvy is to get a seat at the table with clients who make the 360 degree brand decisions and to work on the campaigns that will help define what integrated, multi-channel advertising can look like in the future.”

    Not long after joining Ogilvy, Lars was the Cannes Cyber Lions jury president. In this video he explains why the Grand Prix winners deserved their awards.


    If you follow Lars on Twitter you’ll discover a few things about the man. He loves food and was recently in a BBQ coma during the SXSW conference. He’s always on the move and he can be found anywhere from Puerto Rica to Copenhagen. He’s a real film buff and has a movie review website he runs with a friend called Thursdays Without Zada.

    But above all he loves digital. Nothing is impossible, nothing ever good enough and no idea too big. Lars, I can’t wait to see what you will do at Ogilvy.

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