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Who dares wins

Mo Saha, pd3 (second from right)
Mo Saha, pd3 (second from right)

In an open letter to marketers, creative agency pd3 reminds the industry that just as the boldest and bravest ideas have set the pace for others to follow in the past, so it is likely to be in the future.

Dear clients, at the risk of sounding like monumental suck-ups, we believe the future of our industry will be defined by you.

We honestly think that the advancement of the UK marketing industry will be driven by a small group of open-minded clients who will have a disproportionate effect on the entire industry. Tipping-point style.

We are talking about the kind of clients who first commissioned the idea of placing a free toy in a cereal packet, ran the first music video on MTV, signed off the Nike 10k, green-lighted the Red Bull Flugtag and were instrumental in O2 taking on the Millennium Dome.

Good agency folk will routinely challenge briefs to create the best possible work, but not all agency/client teams will have the drive and stamina to jump the familiar hurdles of inertia, fear and tricky organisational buy-in. Quite frankly, it takes sheer hard work.

We feel genuinely lucky to have brushed briefs with clients who have the desire to go out and do some category bustin'.

By starting an agency briefing with 'I don't want to do what everyone else is doing' and really meaning it, agencies are being given the go-ahead to establish some new traditions that might just propel the industry forwards.

It was a bold client at Pan Macmillan who stepped out and played with the rules of how a publisher goes about launching a hardback. By embracing the concept of an 'enhanced ebook', a 3D-sound environment was created to soundtrack Ken Follett's latest release Fall of Giants. Customers at Waterstone's were plunged into aural battlefields, coal mines, factories and palaces through a specially created binaural soundscape.

To paraphrase the best ad voiceover ever, the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world are usually the ones that do.

A fresh example is our work on 'O2 Indian soap star' - an idea to connect the 'international favourites' product from O2 with the Indian community in the UK.

We created an unexpected solution to the brief - the opportunity to experience starring in a hit Hindi soap opera. The audition roadshow, YouTube upload of said auditions, coverage in target media and chatter through social networks spread with an energy of its own, which has driven the campaign. We know the line between entertainment and marketing will continue to blur because social fuel should be the catalyst for the idea.

A client with imagination is an agency's best friend. It was a free-thinking client at Sony that replaced a static product display area in Heathrow Terminal 5 into a fully immersive experience that took passengers on a cinematic journey through the roof of the airport, into the world of Sony Entertainment.

The experience was like Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator and we want more clients to break through the limits of what has been achieved before.

As our favourite street poet Mike Skinner once urged: 'Let's push things forward.'

We don't have any grand predictions on what the future holds for media and technology - we really feel it is about remaining agile and responsive to what may come. As a creative agency with experience at its heart, pd3 always has (and always will) concentrate on crafting memorable experiences that people will tell their friends about, in person or online. Humans will not change fundamentally and the memory of powerful experiences will endure.

Without getting too Trisha about it, we know that all successful relationships, romantic, familial or professional, rely on trust.

Sometimes the bravest ideas will require a calculated leap of faith, but as long as your agency can explain in logical, plain language how the campaign objectives will be met, it is a leap worth embracing. It's all about disciplined eyes and wild minds.

Yours faithfully pd3

PS. Write back soon, won't you?

Mo Saha is creative planning director of pd3

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