Totally fucked – Who needs Marketing Departments?

From Tanja Freudenthaler

The pressure’s high. To be one of the first with your blog post also means to have got only few impressions. Of course you want to write something meaningful, something with added value. Inspired and enthusiastic. So the plan and my personal briefing. “Think big, do something relevant and inspire” – as you can hear everywhere in Cannes. The situation reminds me a bit of my job. At the beginning of a task it feels so similar. You’re sitting in front of an empty page – at least that’s the way it goes for me – you have all possibilities and still don’t know where to start. You wander aimlessly: Try to find the right way. Still without a plan.

In my case today I’m roaming from big to small stages, from talks to workshops, sometimes bigger sometimes smaller. In my daily work I’m more likely to go through blogs, books and magazines. Wait for THE idea.

And then she surprises you when you probably least expect her. The redeeming thought that carries one from the hundredth to the thousandth. This good feeling that spreads and becomes flow. Letting something create that hopefully captivates others. Surely there is not only one way, but mine, which I – at least at this point in time – consider the right one and defend like a lioness.

But this idea is called to “challenge”. Project managers, accountants, creative directors, marketing directors, product owners and our own self-doubt ensure that we don’t settle for the very best – that’s a good thing! But would there be any other way?

What happens if we simply omit “Brand Awareness Studies, target group analysis, shoulder glances, concept presentations, feedback, second presentation, testings, approvals, final presentations with the management, oh shit we have to restart the whole process”? Switch off everything that blocks creativity.

Martin Ringqvist and John Schoolcraft, both creative directors from Sweden, tried it out. Under the provocative title “Marketing Departments – Who needs them?” they are questioning pretty much everything we have grown fond of in everyday agency life. With Oatly, the “substitute” milk, which is currently not only being torn from the hands of the baristas in Berlin, they are probably driving the beads of sweat onto the foreheads of every marketeer. Sold out several times over, and without anyone stomping on a truly outstanding idea to a consensusable mediocrity in countless processes.

Hip design – of course it comes from Sweden – and of course sustainable. The spirit of the times. The design is beautiful, no question about it, but what really inspires me is the way I communicate. Open, direct and honest, unconventional. With heart and brain, they create an experience across all touchpoints.

The much preached emotions, such as those of Ivy Ross, Vice President of Design at Google, are brilliantly implemented here. Not only elaborately staged, as is so often the case in Cannes. “Design, that connects”. Close and authentic: telephone numbers of the CDs on the packaging, partner search for employees inside, a song about the CEO’s oat milk are just a few examples. Actions that are guaranteed to atrophy in conventional processes until the end of their lives as an impulse in the “old folder”.

The passion for the product and love in the detail of the two Swedes can already be felt in the first sentence. The audience hangs on their lips. Although they don’t get the big stage, they make sure that nobody goes before the end. No creative directors of any products speak here. Real fans speak here. Passionate designers. Designers, researchers, implementers, analysts, copywriters all in one, who make me a fan, even though I don’t really like milk!

And it’s not just me who’s a fan, but more and more every day! But how do you get such freedom? Freedoms that promote outstanding results? Customers who simply let you do it – write letters themselves, improve designs?

The code word is probably trust. This short word that has to be worked out so laboriously. How often have ingenious ideas failed – because of mistrust, distance and miscommunication? A dry spell that hurts. But once the customer has been won over, the connection can be pulled like chewing gum. A privilege that gives you countless freedoms.

Martin and John also had this privilege. At Oatly they worked together with their buddy Toni. A CEO who is instrumental in the ingenious output and rapid rise of the brand. Why? Quite simply: Because he makes room for creativity, because he lets people design instead of just painting. Because he uses the power and does not obstruct it. Because he trusts.

Why am I telling all this here? Quite simple: Trust the creatives more! We don’t have to abolish all processes, maybe we just start with the nonsense? We don’t have to be there for everything, but maybe earlier? We don’t have to have something to say everywhere, but we have to be heard and taken seriously! Creativity is a competitive advantage. Oatly is the best example. Use it!