After a long paternity leave (Yes, we have that in Sweden. It is great.) with my firstborn son I got to do a lot of thinking and decided to do something else and was introduced to the three founders of B-Reel.

Your name, plus your original "web name/handle"

Niklas Lindstrom, and my not so original handle is niklaslindstrom

Your first web encounter, year etc.

1994 when I started to study Media Technology at the University of Skovde in Sweden.

As one of my first jobs after school I ended up at a TV-studio in the small industrial town I grew up in. I thought TV and video production in general was great. I got the chance to dabble with all aspects of it while being there, even the graphics. I produced a youth show on the local network with a couple of friends.

After I while I felt I wanted to go deeper and learn more about the craft of storytelling so I applied for a couple of interesting Media programs but didn’t get in anywhere. Then a few days into the semester I received a call with an offer for an open position.

I packed my things in a car and drove a couple of hours to the school.

My class consisted of a diverse group of people and we experimented a lot with the tools we had creating TV and Film productions, doing interactive projects in Hypercard and Director etc.

And that’s when I discovered that I was really drawn to the mix of moving images with the added spice of technology. I was drawn to the constant evolution of the media itself, something that still drives me and keeps me curious.

Back then the label was Multimedia with CD-ROMs as the primary output. The world wide web was still a lot of text with hyperlinks on greyish backgrounds but it quickly developed to become much more interesting.

What our readers might recognise you most for, when you first hit the web.

I am going to give you a bit of background until I hit what I think the theFWA readers might recognize me for. Bear with me a bit.

In the Summer of 1996 I moved to Stockholm and tried to get a job in the yet fairly newborn Internet industry. While applying for jobs I freelanced and did a website for a small Swedish music studio called Tambourine Studios and also managed a lo-fi indieband called Smash Hit Wonders for a short stint.

Through a kind friend I got an interview and started to work as a Front-end developer at one of the first Multimedia/web agencies in Sweden, Projector New Media.

They were best in class when it came to multimedia, interactive kiosks and CD-ROMs but were just about to get serious with this new thing called Internet.

After three years there doing a lot of web builds for various clients and moving to a Producer role, me and two colleagues wanted to be part of something bigger.

We wanted to able to influence more than just the digital aspects of a brands communication so we met a few of the bigger advertising agencies in Sweden and founded the Interactive division of Leo Burnett in Sweden during the dot-com bubble era in 1999.

I spent five years there trying to integrate Interactive communication into the full-service agency but I guess it was a couple of years too soon.

During my time at the agency I managed the digital business for McDonald’s, built a new Internet Bank service from scratch and lead a small team that developed the design and communication for what is now the biggest healthcare website in Sweden.

After a long paternity leave (Yes, we have that in Sweden. It is great.) with my firstborn son I got to do a lot of thinking and decided to do something else and was introduced to the three founders of B-Reel.

They had a business idea and skills I believed really set them apart as a production company with the mix of film, motion graphics and technology.

They needed someone that could help them with the interactive side of their business and I felt I wanted to get my hands dirty again. So in 2004 I got the job to spearhead the three person (including myself) department web and games.

We did some projects for various Swedish clients both agency and brands. A few of the projects got some recognition internationally.

One of them was ”Systembolaget - Dear Mr Barroso”, an interactive video piece we did for the agency Forsman & Bodenfors. The filmed pieces directed by ”Let The Right One In” and ”Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy” Director Tomas Alfredson.

The piece that was the real international breakthrough for B-Reel and later led to the opening of a US office was ”Travelers - The In-Synch Challenge”, produced for Fallon Minneapolis.

It is an immersive experience mixing interactivity with live action, 3D and motion graphics and at the time it was a piece that really stood out for its production value.

Your digital journey since.

Early 2007 myself and one of the founders of B-Reel, Petter Westlund did a US roadshow to visit a few agencies we wanted to work with and see what they thought about B-Reel’s portfolio.

Probably a bit naive but we thought we saw some positive response so we decided to go big and try to open an office in New York in the fall of 2007. A lot of agencies and brands within a short distance and only 6 hours time difference to Stockholm were the key factors.

Coming to New York was quite overwhelming in a lot of ways for a guy growing up on the Swedish countryside.

The generosity that I met during my time there, both professionally and personally was not what I expected. It was a relief to come to an industry that celebrates talent and people and companies that are doing great things, no matter if they are competitors or not.

After a few months of meeting, pitching, meeting and pitching the business took off and the office and B-Reel grew quickly.

Goodby, Silverstein and Partners put a lot of trust in us when we were awarded a Halloween promotion for Doritos. The scary website was only open between 6pm to 6am, hence the name Hotel626.

Shot in an old abandoned asylum in Stockholm and using technology in clever ways it won Peoples Choice Award here at TheFWA and a couple of other shiny things at Cannes Lions, OneShow, D&AD and the Webby Awards.

The success gave B-Reel a firmer stance on the US market. A year later we got the chance to produce the sequal Asylum626.

The same year we produced a campaign for BBH New York to launch Axe hair products for men. On the website you could submit a photo of yourself in what appeared to be a live broadcast. You were judged by a host and a hundred girls in a warehouse with your photo on big screens.

We shot hundreds of variations both video and voice-over to give every visitor a more personal and authentic response. Axe Hair Crisis Relief were moderated from a call center in Winnipeg Canada, so the evaluations were real so in the end you got a product recommendation based on your actual hair type.

A fun mix of entertainment and utility.

One of the last projects I was part of at B-Reel was Google Chrome Fastball, a fun game inside YouTube featuring a Rube Goldberg installation as the narrative.

During the spring of 2010 I got a call from the Director of Production at BBDO New York, Brian DiLorenzo who I had and still have a ton of respect for. At the time I wasn’t considering a move from B-Reel. But after 6 years there and a couple of long discussions with Brian and BBDO I felt it was an opportunity way too exciting, challenging and intimidating to say no to.

So I teamed with Brian and assumed the role of Head of Interactive Production to try to figure out how BBDO should approach Integrated Production.

During my two years there we were able to re-engineer the process and the production department. The agency went from eight Interactive Producers to a more balanced organized team of twenty Interactive Producers when I left.

Even though it takes time and patience to navigate a large agency like BBDO, I really enjoyed working there. At every company it comes down to the people that work there and the agency had many talented people.

The more proud moments at BBDO were ”HBO True Blood Dig Deeper”, ”AT&T Shout your love from the Mountaintop”, FedEx Our Changing World”, the ”GE Throttle Up Holographic Installation” and ”AT&T Daybreak”.

As a father of three kids and after five years in New York my wife and I was weighing the pros and cons of raising three small kids in the US vs. Sweden. Sweden won this time. We chose to move back to get closer to family and old friends end of Summer 2012.

What are you up to now?

When I came back to Sweden I joined Forsman & Bodenfors as Head of Digital.

I am spending my time trying to figure out how the agency can evolve and continue to be at the forefront of digital communication and how to approach ideas and production in a smarter way.

Our industry is supposed to be sensitive for the latest trends in arts and culture on behalf of our clients but yet still we are pretty conservative when it comes to our own organization and how we do things.

I find that dichotomy really interesting.

In parallel I am hands on producing interactive projects for various clients. The last project I produced was The Chase 360°(thechase360.com) for Volvo Trucks, an interactive 360° video experience where bulls are chasing a truck through the narrow streets of the Spanish town of Ciudad Rodrigo.

Niklas Lindström... Then
Niklas Lindström... Then

Niklas Lindström... Now
Niklas Lindström... Now

Systembolaget - Dear Mr Barroso
Systembolaget - Dear Mr Barroso

Travelers - In Synch Challenge

Axe Hair Crisis Relief

Hotel 626
Hotel 626

Google Chrome Fastball

HBO True Blood Dig Deeper

GE Throttle Up Holographic Installation

AT&T Daybreak

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