Vulnerability at the heart of the relationship
“In so many ways, done is better than perfect,” said Kemp as the conversation turned to the partnership at the heart of the work. That element of slightly working on the fly strengthened it from the off. For Campbell, it was essential that the process was a collaborative one: “Yes, we might not have all the answers but let’s just figure it out together.” She is appreciative of the openness of the Digitas team who showed work before it was ready to be shown. “I love working like that. I’d much rather us evolve it together and be brought in early,” she adds.
Whatley acknowledges that at the height of the campaign, daily communication was key. He praises Campbell’s ability to line up the approval needed on the Mondelez side to ensure the work could get through quickly. “Getting those stars to align is very, very difficult at any point in time, in any year, let alone in the midst of a pandemic when everyone’s thinking about pulling budgets,” he says. “That was really, really empowering.”
He referenced the work of the American professor Brené Brown who believes that from vulnerability comes immense trust. It was a “galvanising moment” of vulnerability that the agency found themselves in when they showed their work in its non-perfect state. “Since then, we’ve never really looked back,” says Whatley. It’s a way of working that Whatley believes will only benefit future campaigns.
Traditionally there can be a lot of theatre within brand agency relationships; presentations can feel quite produced. But this process, says Campbell, felt entirely removed from that: “we were making decisions and we were running quickly and were aligning as we went but we were really empowered as well.”
New behaviours carried forwards
The trust, honesty and openness at the heart of this process are, for both Whatley and Campbell, essential working tropes that both are hoping will continue to remain at the heart of the brand and agency’s creative partnership. For Whatley, the team set the tone from the beginning with the first presentation: “It’s a case of well this is as good as it is now, do you want to see it now?”
He explained that the partnership the team also had with the media agency Carat was also fundamental to the success of the campaign. “The way that we’ve shared the vulnerability and the work and the trust with Carat has done exactly the same thing in that relationship,” he adds.
Moving forwards the teams are talking every day, asking questions and sharing ideas. And always ensuring that their video is on for presentations. Campbell and Whatley joke that there was a clear agency brand split between video use at the start but that, as time went on, the teams realised how essential it was to actually see one another, even if it was just through a screen.
Whatley feels that the moment of intensity that this campaign was born out of is a point which brands and agencies typically reach after a few years of working together. “We got there straight away,” he says. He talked of a presentation he’d given to the whole Digitas team in which he retrospectively looked at the campaign and the work done under lockdown. The final slide of the deck, he says, “was trust your team, trust your clients, trust the work.”
Through a campaign turned around in just a matter of days, Oreo and Digitas brought playfulness and connection into homes across the UK under lockdown, proving that being vulnerable and imperfect is sometimes the best way to get brilliant work out into the world at breakneck speed.
To watch the full interview, visit the dedicated Creativebrief Explores page.
Tune in at 2pm on Thursday 13th August as we explore how CALM and adam&eveDDB worked together to control our online COVID consumption.