Within the Young Lions Croatia competition, young lions Lana Krsul, Account Manager from UM Zagreb and Tomislav Vranjkovic, Junior Media Planner from the Zagreb agency Initiative won second place in the Media category.
This year, the goal of the competition had a humanitarian theme and character – to point out the importance of combating energy poverty, but also to highlight young talents and their ideas in solving the given topic. Total of 70 talents participated, which were divided into pairs with the task of designing solutions in five categories: Design, Digital, PR, Media and Print.
Last year (29) and Tomislav (26) were awarded the client “Society for the Design of Sustainable Development” with the task of bringing users in an innovative way to an important topic such as energy sustainability. We talked with Lana and Tomislav about the impressions from the competition, the task, as well as how the process of designing the solution went after the received brief.
How did you two become a team?
Lana: The original idea within the agency was for the four of us to go to the competition, and we combined the couples to have one colleague cover online and one offline media section. As our online colleagues were eventually prevented from participating in the competition, the two of us remained the only ones from the agency available to participate.
Tomislav: Considering that we have known each other privately for a couple of years, this outcome did not bother us in the least. On the contrary, we believe that better connections has further helped us to come up with an innovative and recognized solution.
Did you have the opportunity to face this kind of challenge before this competition?
Tomislav: So far I have not had the opportunity to face this kind of challenge. As I have been in the agency and media planning world for a relatively short period of time, some things were new to me and some I encounter on a daily basis.
Lana: This is not my first time participating in this competition, I also participated last year, so I had some experience with this challenge and an idea of how everything is going. Also in my daily work, I used to find myself in very similar situations, ie challenges, where the client was looking for a quick and innovative solution, and with budgets similar to the ones we had here.
How hard is it to make a good campaign with a small or even non-existent budget?
Lana: I think it’s important to always focus on what’s available. Certainly, a larger budget provides more options for available solutions to make the campaign well seen and recognized among consumers. However, we are also convinced that it is in situations of modest or non-existent budget that the imagination awakens and in the end, the most creative ideas are born. That it is difficult, of course, because we are used to the practice that the first step is to start from a brief budget, to consider what our options are and how to optimize it. When you are aware that there is no or minimal budget, many ideas that are born are unfortunately not feasible because they are financially demanding, but then we focus on those that are feasible and believe that in the end the result may turn out better than those campaigns in which much more funds are invested.
How much did your previous experience help you solve the task?
Lana: The experience certainly had a big impact on solving the task. For example, I can compare my participation in the competition last year and this year and conclude that even just one year of experience has significantly contributed to my approach to the task and finding a solution. The importance of experience is most emphasized in terms of knowledge of the market, media, novelties and opportunities, so it is easier to recognize whether something is feasible, innovative or already seen and have a premonition of how successful a solution would be in the market.
Tomislav: Quite a lot, and the work in the Initiative agency had a convincing effect on that. There are only a few of us in the team and the approach is much more individual and we learn quickly. A lot of the things I did for our clients I could apply in problem solving especially in strategy and creative solutions.
What was the biggest challenge?
Tomislav: The biggest challenge was definitely to come up with a good, quality, innovative and feasible idea in response to the defined problem and goals that the campaign aims to achieve. An additional challenge was in the very nature of the competition, and that was that we knew we had 24 hours to come up with an idea, a creative concept, support it with research and ultimately make a good and interesting presentation. We were tired at times, nervous, sleepy, we had a feeling that nothing we had designed was good enough and wanted to give up, but we motivated each other and finally after working on it for 17 hours came up with a solution that we were proud of.
Lana: Ultimately, the challenge of the relationship between the partners in a couple competing together should not be overlooked. It is important that they are compatible and that they can spend 24 hours with each other, while at the same time having fun with designing the whole project.
Given the theme of the competition, do you think advertising can change the world, and is that its task at all?
Lana: I think advertising is changing and will always change the world, just as the tools through which that is achieved change over the years. The task of advertising is not necessarily to always change the whole world but to influence the attitude and behavior of consumers depending on the goal. A well thought out idea and an adequate strategy can definitely result in a great response from people and encourage change for the better.
And finally, what advice would you give to young colleagues who are preparing for this type of competition?
Tomislav: To apply because they have nothing to lose but only experience and knowledge to gain.
Lana: I would definitely advise my young colleagues to dare to participate in the competition because it is a great experience in itself, regardless of previous agency experience. There is no special preparation for the competition because you do not known who the client is until the very beginning and every year the topic is completely different. It is important to focus on a good idea, create a story around it and pay attention to fulfilling the elements that the jury evaluates. In addition, as the most important thing in everything, I would say – don’t forget to relax and have fun!