.
The real difficulty is not to reach a wide audience, it’s to touch everyone. When we talk to everybody, we speak to nobody.

Please give us a brief bio of yourself.

My name is Vincent Vella. I’m 31 y/o and I live in Paris (France). I'm currently working as a Creative Director at BETC 4D Euro RSCG. I previously worked as a Creative Director at Publicis Net and before that I spent many years freelancing as an Art Director.

I also did many design and contemporary art exhibitions with the collective Neen, and with some french designers such as Ora-Ito and RADI Designers. I also collaborated with the Palais de Tokyo (a famous French art center) and the Japanese magazine Shift.

What do you do for inspiration?

The Internet is already a great source of inspiration, but obviously it's also interesting to assimilate the innovations that come from design or contemporary art. Working in advertising, the whole « mainstream culture » (movies, music vidéos, and TV shows) is also essential to stay connected to people we are addressing.

And of course the video game is a great source of inspiration for all of those who are working in the interactive industry.

Please list 3 of your favourite sites.

Among the websites recently released, I would say : Wrangler « Blue Bell », Adidas « Teamgeist » and Nike « Jordan become Mars »

What do you regard as being your biggest achievement?

If we refer to the results of the campaign, I must say that it’s probably the viral dispositive that preceded the launch of the film « Evian Roller Babies » , but i’m also very proud of our work on the website « Airness Attraction Day » (with my friends Les 84)

What's your favourite part of your job? What's the hardest part of your job?

My favorite part is without any hesitation the exchange with the creative teams and the first steps just after the brief. This is a stage full of debate and questioning, and I am fortunate to work with bright people who have different cultures and tastes. It enriches me tremendously.

The most complicated ? it’s not to sell the idea to the client, but to preserve intact the quality of the creative work throughout the various stages of validation.

What's the longest you've ever stayed up working on a project?

Over 6 month on the website « Jump to the next Level » (it was for both Orange and BNP Paribas, and handling two clients at the same time remains a very traumatic experience for me). And i spent almost 8 months on the Evian viral campaign… 

How many projects does your company juggle at any one time?

I just cannot count them ! you know, we are a company of almost 700 people, including 120 people working exclusively on the web…

Who do you rate as being the top 3 design companies?

If we’re talking strictly about interactive design, I would say Firstborn, North Kingdom and Tha Ltd.

But design is not the only aspect of our work, branding is crucial, so agencies like Goodby, Silverstein & Parters and Crispin Porter + Bogusky are now probably the agencies that impress me the most.

When dealing with major clients, how difficult is it to meet the needs of such wide target audiences?

The real difficulty is not to reach a wide audience, it’s to touch everyone. When we talk to everybody, we speak to nobody. The message becomes consensual, and bland. It’s usually more interesting to have a specific target, especially on the Internet. That's why brands such as Lynx or Coke Zero emerge particularly in the digital media: they know exactly with whom they communicate.

What was the last digital effort you saw (or were a part of) that used social media in a way that really made sense. Why?

Burger King’s « Whopper Sacrifice » remains for me the best example of what a brand should be on social media (and on the internet): a clown who disrupts and distorts the codes, who thinks out of the box.

Have you been a part of a campaign that was rooted in digital and THEN reached over into other consumer touchpoints? Did this happen organically or was it a part of the plan from the beginning?

Today, this happens often organically, for financial reasons. Indeed, the cost of a web campaign is well below the cost of a TV campaign.

For instance 'Live Young', Evian's first ever global campaign, was set to launch simultaneously in France, UK, Germany, Belgium, Canada, US, Russia and Japan. In France, where the launch of the new babies creative was eagerly anticiptated, activity was heavily supported by TV. In other markets activity needed to focus solely or primarily on digital channels, and would not benefit from the same collective memory.

In order to build buzz and whet appetites, we launched two teaser videos two weeks before the official launch of the Roller Babies video. Baby Moonwalk and Baby Break Dance both set the scene and harked back to Evian's Water Babies, jogging memories and creating a mood of anticipation.

Today, « Evian Roller Babies » is the most viewed online advertisement ever with 61m views. This success would probably not have been possible without the teaser videos, Baby Moonwalk and Baby Break Dance, and without all the additional content that we launched after the movie.

The web is getting out of the web. Do you find that thinking in digital solutions alone hinders you? Do you feel the urge to solve the problem using all mediums necessary?

I think it's a false debate: all traditional media become digital media. TV and radio are increasingly consumed on the computer or mobile phone, and touchscreens are starting to settle in the urban environment. In addition, some innovations such as Augmented Reality create real bridges between paper and screen.

The future belongs to those who have « digitalized » their brains.

There is perhaps a shift in web use these days. We are seeing a decline in the purely experiential sites in flash with huge production efforts, to a relationship with clients based on tools and services, that many times have simples interfaces. How do you see that trend developing?

It’s a tendency which is linked to the emergence of social media. People’s online behaviour is changing enormously. We are becoming increasingly used to real-time interaction thanks to Facebook, Twitter, etc.

However, the website and moreover, microsite models of the past are changing enormously. When users are used to a constantly updating online world, even regularly maintained sites seem inescapably static.
 
The ideal website would be a fusion of a conversation platform with an experiential area. Service or conversation are important, but the brand must also install an aesthetic and imagery to exist.

If you were a student entering this industry or an aspiring FWA award submitter, what advice would you give them?

I would say that before worrying about the awards, he should worry about people who visit his websites or click on his banners. And also : focus on the problem or issue you're looking at. Don't rehash other people's solutions.

How difficult do you find employing the right people in a world where everyone calls themselves a web designer?

It’s true that anyone can make a website, but this does not mean that everyone can be webdesigner. It's pretty easy to sort and identify people who are true professionals...

How do you keep your finger on the pulse of the latest web trends?

FWA every day ! lol

What country excites you the most in terms of innovation?

Japan, without any hesitation. It is the country which develops the most impressive and intuitive interfaces.

There must be a project that you have always dreamed of doing, what is it?

My ultimate dream is to make a viral movie or a website with Mr T.

Any parting shots or pearls of wisdom?

Andy Warhol said : « An artist is somebody who produces things that people don't need to have ». We may not be artists, but we do almost the same thing.

It has been a privilege, thanks very much

The pleasure is all mine - thank you.


Links

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Airness - Attraction Day

SFR Live VJ

Evian - Baby Break Dance

Evian - Baby Moonwalk

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