Conversation with Hernán Sen, CEO of Dandy
(Collab Lab) Dandy Studio was the agency that created “Atributos” or “Attributes”, Telecentro’s smart shopper campaign. It excels at communicating the company’s differential attributes in five spots.
Hernán Sen, Dandy’s CEO, talks about this piece and the present and the future of the agency.
How did you come up with the idea of making a five-spot campaign? And how great it is to have a client willing to take the risk on these ideas?
It’s all about data analysis. A year and a half ago, Tribu joined Telecentro’s communication team, a merger I deemed absolutely necessary. During this period of time we tested the different USPs in different audiences and learned which are the assets customers value most in the company. This gave us a very deep level of understanding, so much so that we redefined the recent Triple Play of the company and installed these other differentiating attributes we know are the ones most valued by subscribers today. Also, we noticed that almost all the differentials were exclusive to Telecentro and that our main competitor didn’t offer them. That sparked the creative idea. We proposed to the client a main spot comprised of a new combo of services and four short 15-second spots. We were very clear about the fact that those four short spots were not going to be edits of the main spot. We wanted each of them to have their own protagonist, edition, and atmosphere. That’s how we achieved targeting a multitude of audiences while also keeping in mind the most important aspects for each attribute.
And yes, it is great to have Telecentro’s board confidence. It’s a team which spends a great deal of time and planning on its communication while keeping an eye on new technologies.
Data driven creativity and briefing. That’s a reality. Today many brands work that way. Now, this applies to digital strategies, but how does it work in traditional advertising?
Today, data is accessible and compelling. We’re all generating lots of info all the time. Everything we do, mostly on our devices, leaves a trace, and that information, when correctly analyzed, makes solid briefs possible with more precise and less invasive creative content. Then of course, it’s up to you to achieve the best execution for each media and support. Still, the intelligence behind it is the same, whether it is traditional advertising or not.
Where does this new reality leave marketing strategists and creatives?
I think it allows them to be much more precise, doesn’t it? A few years ago, a market study was only something large companies could access, but today we can test almost everything online. It’s fast and accessible. Now, loose data is useless. It’s very powerful only when you stamp intelligence on it, and that’s where marketing strategists and creatives come into play. We automate processes, optimize timings and raise the standard for quality.
Right! By Doing a little research on your career, we found out that you have a low profile, but an extensive background in the industry. Is it difficult to keep a low profile with jobs like these?
(laughs) Yes, you could say that! But, I also think you have to consider our clients’ profiles in your observation. There are clients such as Roemmers who can’t perform mass communication, and the work in that case doesn’t have the visibility that, for example, an account like Telecentro gives. The truth is I face all projects with my heart, giving my everything and not keeping anything for myself. It doesn’t matter to me if the projects are small or giant, low or high exposure.
At 20 you were already working for the biggest agency in Argentina. You didn’t have much rotation between agencies -which is unusual- and also, still very young, you decided to carry out your personal project. What would you say are the highlights of your career?
My first job was in Capurro. As soon as I entered, the agency made a killing with the “La semana de la dulzura” campaign, or “The week of sweetness”. For me, it was interesting to find out that it wasn’t like any other campaign. “La semana de la dulzura” had been invented in the agency and we creatives had not come to this world just to come up with interesting concepts, we could also invent business where there was none. That realization, so early in my career, changed my vision of everything.
Another highlight is having incorporated the Roemmers account in 1997 and still have it to this day. I work for almost all the companies of the group and in many different specialties: from creating a brand, through the design and development of websites with super sophisticated programming, to packaging design. Talking about their packaging, there was a moment when we not only supplied almost all the companies of the group in Argentina, but we also covered Latin America, Europe, the Middle East, Asia and some specific products in the USA. In order to manage these volumes of packaging deliverables, very tight work processes and protocols are required.
Today, the highlight of my career is having adopted data-driven creativity and having moved the agency to the cloud.
How was it to upload the agency to the cloud?
I’ve been studying many articles and papers about how physical companies compete with virtual ones. At first I thought we were not going to be able to be 100% virtual, that we were going to need some discipline to hold face-to-face meetings. Eventually, I realized that they are dispensable. Last year I had a meeting with a peer in New York and at one point he said, “My dream is to work from home. And I thought, “We’re already there”. It is obviously great to be able to say to a creative “Forget about the 9 to 5 week day scheme”. But it is more interesting to think in terms of work teams which are completely open: like hiring a Japanese photographer to shoot a model in London for a campaign in North America, all of it managed from Latin America. It’s all about breaking structures. Three years after making the decision, I see that we have grown, not only in number of clients, but also in the development of pre-existing clients.
How do you see our industry?
I think that here in Argentina, our industry has not yet finished its reinvention. The digital transformation is exponential and is changing everything, but we are not quite there yet.
COVID-19 is hitting the industry hard and each client’s reality can be very different.
Absolutely, there are clients who doubled their advertising investments and others who lowered it to zero. This has forced us to be agile while rethinking our planning for 2020, and also to imagine different exit scenarios in order to recalibrate objectives. But we must not feel threatened, we must feel challenged. That mindset changes everything. You have to stay focused and never give up.