Crystal Apple Festival of Creativity – Making a Difference 2013

When our good friends at the Turkish Association of Advertising Agencies and Advertising Education Foundation and Campaign magazine’s Turkey office approached us some months ago to help out with selecting speakers and curating some of the content for Crystal Apple, we were delighted that a new festival of creativity was being born. Historically an awards night, conceived of by the late Eli Acıman of Manajans/JWT in Istanbul, the time was ripe to take it to the next level. When Alper Üner claimed that the vision was to make Crystal Apple the Davos of Creativity, some may have faltered a little, but after the first-ever week of the festival, we believe in our hearts that it is a dream to come true in just a few short years’ time. We love big dreamers!

As Idea Bakery, we also dreamt big. The first day of the festival was a triple-whammy for us, as Serfi ran Creative Confessions, cross-examining Jonathan Mildenhall (VP of Global Advertising Strategy and Creative Excellence at the Coca-Cola Company) and Tor Myhren (Grey New York’s President and Chief Creative Officer) in front of a live audience, from topics ranging from creative jealousy and failure to nourishing your inner child. We hope to have a video to share with you soon, until then you can read about the highlights of the session below in our ‘recaps’). Day 2 found Idea Bakery at our partner eYeka’s CEO François’ workshop on co-creation and on Day 4, dedicated to young aspiring creative minds, Serfi gave a seminar on Purposeful Brands while Jose challenged conventions with the advantage of Crowdsourcing and Co-creation.

Serfi with Alper Üner and Tor Myhren at the Idea Bakery booth

Serfi with Alper Üner and Tor Myhren at the Idea Bakery booth


Throughout the festival, the Idea Bakery booth became our grounding hub in the middle of the daily hustle, where our Idea Caterer Simin made sure all who came by got a delicious cupcake or two (baked by our friend Esra’s 175 Cupcake Bar), made new connections and walked away with a batch of inspirational ideas.

Below are some recipes we snagged from the plethora of inspirational panels, seminars, workshops and activities that made Crystal Apple shine in its first year of graduating to a festival. We hope they spark something for you as they did for us, until Cannes next summer!


Day 1

The day began with a big bang, just when we were wondering if a latte would be enough to wake us up, Jonathan arrived to energize us!

Early morning start with Jonathan on Day 1He made a wonderfully delivered off-the-cuff speech to a select few at the CMO Club with candor. Even though his job is making sure Coca-Cola’s happiness is shared worldwide with creative excellence, he explained how Muhtar Kent keeps him going by being ever so constructively discontent. This fuels his efforts to build more liquid connections with consumers, the end result being that consumer-generated stories are now outnumbering company generated ones at Coke. So keep going, even when you’re at the top! Mildenhall set the tone for a day of not settling…

Jonathan, Serfi and Tor

Jonathan, Serfi and Tor

“Creative Confessions” – Serfinaz Altun, Founder & Idea Chef, Idea Bakery; Jonathan Mildenhall, VP of Global Advertising Strategy & Creative Excellence, The Coca-Cola Company; Tor Myhren, President and Chief Creative Officer, Grey New York

After the opening ceremonies, we finalized our preparations for our own workshop and Serfi blasted “I Will Always Love You” to kick off Creative Confessions with Jonathan’s first confession – his penchant for Whitney Houston. Our rules of engagement were being brutally honest, telling us something that wouldn’t be found on YouTube or a case study. Serfi cross-examined Jonathan and Tor on the value of failures, brands they are jealous of, if too much collaboration can be a bad thing (it is, says Jonathan, as it brings the tide of excellence down) and what they do to keep their inner child alive. Please watch this space for a post devoted to the entire session.


“Creative Culture: Build It and They Will Come” – Tor Myhren, President and Chief Creative Officer, Grey New York

Right after ‘Confessions’ we followed Tor to his wonderful keynote on Grey, failing quickly to turn around business, and building a sustainable culture in the agency. Grey was famous for its business acumen but not much for having a strong creative culture, and he took it upon himself to change that. It began with how the agency actually related to its internal and external partners. “Agencies talk about themselves to clients, but they should talk about what they can do for their clients” and “Culture leads to work” were our favourite points. Tor himself cultivates the creative culture by creating space and time for it – a huge section of the agency is a cork wall for posting ideas, and every Thursday morning until noon is ‘no meeting’ time, reserved for creativity only.

Tor talking culture at The Hub

Tor talking culture at The Hub

“The Digital Ambush” – Mailine Swildens, Head of Zoo, Google

We love Google and YouTube, we loved Mike Yapp at Cannes this year, so we went to get our dose of Zoo again in the afternoon from Mailine. Mailine emphasized how brands can become so much more effective and efficient as meticulous curators of user generated content. To get to the point where you manage your brand purpose, essence, benefit and pinpoint your community so well that the brand’s advocates become your advertisers as you cut your advertising budget. Such was the case with GoPro; about 80% of their video content is produced by users all over the world, and YouTube helps them scale their reach. You can check out their YouTube channel for thousands of inspiring user videos here.

“Content 2020” –Jonathan Mildenhall, VP Global Advertising Strategy & Creative Excellence, The Coca-Cola Company

Just as it began, the first day of Crystal Apple ended on a high note with Jonathan Mildenhall’s keynote on the thinking behind Coke’s Content Excellence Vision for 2020, we can never get enough of this presentation and the concept of “Liquid Ideas”! Coke is a brand that is well aware that to keep growing sustainably and transcend time, you need to understand your consumer very well, have a resonant brand purpose, and start acting as more of a medium or curator than an advertiser. So how do you do that? To become a global incubator of great creative ideas, Coke’s idea model accommodates flexibility within boundaries: 70% of ideas are low risk, and hence ‘pay the rent’, 20% of ideas lead innovation from what already works well and 10% of ideas are high risk, high gain. This way they can take risks test ideas and innovate and play with conflict to be able to enable more creativity. Within the stream of ideas, the brand owners’ role requires them to be ruthless editors of content excellence and dynamic storytelling. We love how Coke constantly reinvents itself.

“We’re moving from insights to provocations to have bigger thinking in the heart of our briefs” – Jonathan Mildenhall, The Coca-Cola Company

Great examples of provocation and dilemma opening up new creative ground:

You can watch and listen to the story of Liquid Ideas here, narrated by Jonathan himself.

Day 2

“Think Differently” – Christophe Cauvy, European Head of Digital & Innovation, JWT

In the morning, we found ourselves staring at a peculiar experiment on shopper perception, presented by JWT’s Christope Cauvy, opening a string of discussions on where the consumer is headed and where agencies are headed:


In the image above, Chauvy explained that when the former price of a discounted item is larger than the markdown price, it sells more because the new numbers literally shrink in comparison. Conversely, participants in a focus group discussion claimed they’d be more likely to buy the box of cookies with large product images but in reality the sales of the small cookie packaging outperformed the large ones, possibly due to the perception of quantity. Chauvy recommends ditching the regular focus group setting for neuroscience and looking at the cognition patterns at the level of decision-making. Likewise, he emphasized the need for agencies to also reach for the more tangible, urging them to start developing products and services for brands too, not just creating communication campaigns from afar.

“People keep saying there’s too much going on, too many new things coming out. But this happens every decade. The fact is, the level of innovation achieved between 1870-1970 is still unsurpassed and probably unreachable ever again. The phenomenon of information overload was already noted in 1907, it is not a new syndrome.” –Christophe Cauvy


“Do It with Them, Not for Them: Leveraging Co-Creation” (Idea Bakery partner session) – François Petavy, CEO, eYeka

Our co-creation partner eYeka shared excellent cases of co-creation from Coca-Cola, Schick, Volvic, Nescafe from around the world and CarrefourSA in Turkey, which we were happy to form the briefs and strategic analyses for.

As François reminded us again, the secret of success in co-creation lies in forming the right context for the creator, just as a good brief can open the door to creativity anywhere. The creators on eYeka are motivated by the 4 F’s – fun, fulfillment, fame and fortune – so our brand must reach out to them with passion and potential to make their star shine while reaching business and communication objectives. Co-creation is win-win!

Nescafe’s eYeka brief was to reinvent instant coffee, cafe style:

Coke reimagined as an energizing refreshment:

“Creativity on Facebook” – Mark D’arcy, Director of Global Creative Solutions, Facebook

Facebook’s Mark D’arcy opened by reminding us that in the face of information overload, at least we all become superpowered online (our voice is louder, everything is faster and more available) – there’s much more going on while there are still the same number of hours in a day, so we rely on the wisdom of our network. Facebook’s opportunity is the need for quicker wisdom, connection, search and discovery in times where experience is becoming more valuable than money against time. Similarly, brands that are learning to rely on the wisdom of consumers by truly listening and dynamically responding are the winners of the cloud and the crowd:

A Facebook fan brings back an old brand in New Zealand:

One last word of advice from D’arcy regarding what not to do when starting to have a conversation with consumers is a great analogy: think of your brand as a person cocktail party — you wouldn’t push yourself into a conversation of strangers and be ‘that guy’, would you?

“Embrace Change and Make It Happen” – Jose Miguel Sokoloff, Global Creative Council President, Lowe

Sokoloff captured the entire audience in awe as he took us through each step of strategy leading to the continuing demobilization of FARC (Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia) members in partnership with the Colombian Ministry of Defense. You may remember the Christmas Operations case study below, which has continued with the “Beacons of Light” campaign and a formal effort to re-engage ex-guerrilla members in new vocations.

A purposeful cause with sustainable effectiveness (17.000 demobilization cases out of the 24.000 when the first campaign was launched) that reminds us to keep digging for the deepest human truth, listening to all sides of the story, and to keep strategies dynamic in relation to changing contexts.

“Is Technology Redefining Creativity?” – Nalden, Founder, WeTransfer

WeTransfer and Dropbox are two services we cannot live without at Idea Bakery. The top reason besides security and storage capacity is that the experience is so simple and non-intrusive, which is the thinking behind the venture. Nalden explained that they set out to redefine digital advertising and disrupt the convention of non-interesting and even bad design, leading to a partly crowd-sourced showcase model. WeTransfer’s upload screens now feature work curated from independent illustrators and artists from around the globe, beautiful advertising from design-minded brands like Sonos, and custom screens for company use.

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Their philosophy explains it all and contains a message that can be applied to communication anywhere:

“Ugly doesn’t sell. That’s why we’re constantly pushing our advertisers to come up with great visuals and attractive ads. It’s what you call a win-win situation. You get to enjoy pretty pictures and our advertisers get to enjoy high click-through rates and unprecedented levels of site traffic.” – WeTransfer

“Making Things That Matter” – Matt Gee, Global Development and Growth Director, R/GA

R/GA’s historical intro reel is a gem for the archives and we never tire of watching it! We love how they half self-analyzed and noted that they reinvent themselves every 9 years, many times ahead of the market – they started out as a computer-assisted film-making and special effects company (they created the motion graphics for the Superman film in 1978), then became a digital studio and production company, then an interactive advertising agency and now are defined as an experience design company and the digital agency of the future.


As pioneers of the experience era and the masterminds behind Nike’s Fuelband platform, R/GA urged more brands to migrate to an ecosystem mindset based on their own model of collaboration. The model emphasizes collaboration across disciplines by partnering technologists, copywriters, designers, analysts, and planners in order to create a mix of advertising campaigns and brand platforms for the ever-changing needs of the consumer in the current and future landscape.

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R/GA's storytelling model

R/GA’s storytelling model

“Our ‘Dam’ Life” – Eric Quennoy & Mark Bernath, Executive Creative Directors, Wieden + Kennedy Amsterdam

Wieden + Kennedy Amsterdam’s seminar was more of a disruptive rock party than an industry panel, and who better than Eric and Mark than to deliver a few painful truths home while helping us all remain optimistic? The legendary creative directors are living proof that you can work hard (Heineken, Nike, Old Spice, Coke Zero are some of their clients to name a few, and they just received the Creative Effectiveness award for Heineken this year at Cannes Lions) and play hard too, which is essentially the golden balance in creating engaging integrated communication campaigns. They reminded us that first of all, any piece of content a brand produces is always competing for the attention of the consumer against latest hipster meme, YouTube tutorial, home-made cat GIF, and the finale of Breaking Bad; and that if your idea is weak, no amount of holistic or integrated planning is going to make it stick. Second of all, they urged us all to get the ‘wrong people’ on projects – for example, not to just get the person who has been on automotive accounts for 10 years for a car pitch, but to get someone who maybe doesn’t even drive – because that’s where fresh perspectives and ideas can be found. In fact, Eric and Mark claimed that someone who hates the account can really shift the idea pool into unconsidered territory.

Of course, it all begins with a great brief – contrary to popular belief, creatives love limitations because they are challenging and provide a context, a framework. And when you’re listening to the idea, as a client, please give them some sort of feedback, any emotion is good, even frowning, let them know how they feel! Because, as we always remind you in our training sessions and workshops, no emotion is worse news than a scowl. Lastly, being open to the unpredictable together as client and agency is the gateway to greatness.
We love this partnership testimony with Heineken:



Day 3

On day 3 we all decided to spend some time breathing in the festival air and spending time with friends, especially the highly inspiring David Shing, catching up before his talk.


“Recalibrating Digital Conversations” – David Shing, Digital Prophet, AOL

The man with the best hair in the industry, known widely as Shingy, opened his quest for the future of digital with reminding us that of the 8 billion people in the world, half of them are under the age of 25 and they have a very different on how life should be. Shing believes that components of what will be ‘the future’ is already here, drawing a parallel to JWT’s Cauvy’s point that the innovation rate may have decreased. Our tools are already here!

So what do we need to focus on the make the most of our connection with this new generation? Social networks are not new to them, they don’t care about site names, not even about brands. They care about what brands do in public and the experiences they create. Shing reminded us that attention is the new currency and that the right content in the right context, no matter whether it’s digital or analogue, is still the winning key to lasting engagement.

Shing also argues that the advent of social TV and the increased use of smartphone and tablets in the home will prompt SoLoMo (social, local, mobile) to be renamed Home-Mobile, since mobile already implies social and local.
Screen Shot 2013-10-04 at 04.29.59

The most important piece of advice from the digital prophet was that we’re past the information age and well into the socialization age where interests form the basis of everything, it’s about time we moved from accumulating big data to converting it to make use of communities of interest in relation to our brands’ context. Once this integrates with social shopping, the next big step in e-commerce, the race will begin for the Amazon of this new social experience era.
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“Steve Jobs was right. Most of the time people don’t know what they want until you show it to them. But first you need to create an experience for them, read them well, tell great stories. You need to be able to capture them in a 6-second video. “
-David Shing

How to get Shingy-fied, in a nutshell:
Screen Shot 2013-10-04 at 04.30.32


“Perform Or Perish! Consumer Trends That Will Make You Kick Ass In 2014” – Henry Mason, Managing Partner & Global Head of Research,

photo’s dispatches in person are even more engaging – Henry walked us through the “why” before the “what” in terms of consumer context and upcoming behavioral trends for 2014. The Why: We have transcended the information age and surplus age straight into the age of creative destruction, where there is such a high saturation of omnipresent content that nevermind the shortening of attention spans, experiences themselves are quickly losing meaning too. So the great question is, in these experience-abundant times, how do you keep people excited while still addressing human needs?

To answer, facts and “What”s that form the basis of 2014 trends are:

-Consumers don’t care about how unique you are, they care about how unique themselves are. So stealing a great idea and appropriating it is OK. To improve experience delivery, brands need to start looking outside of their own categories – users don’t compare the dashboard capabilities of a BMW to a Benz. They compare the experience to their iPhone, to other standards of excellence of ease of use and responsiveness.

-Consumers will not care if 73% of all brands that exist disappeared tomorrow. They care about brands with purpose and transparency, which also eases the guilt of consumption, especially Coca-Cola and McDonald’s (Check out the “Track My Macca’s” augmented reality app that tells you where your Big Mac came from and what kind of grass the cows were fed and on what farm)


-Consumers are becoming both more and less predictable. More because there is more real-time data available on them, even when they are in motion down the street, but also less, because spontaneity and discovery are rising in value. When the need to discover newness intersects with big data, we see the future of Real Time: perfectly spontaneous discovery apps, such as FieldTrip, which recommends nearby places to scour, and real-time customer review engines. Managing customer experience has to be realtime too – news of bad encounters and bad service travels fast.


-What all of this means for businesses is that it really is all about the experiences, products and services. Older brands’ heritage may become a burden for the transparency-demanding consumer. What will matter is the consumers’ narrative, not the ages-old story of the brand. Purpose can lend old brands with loads of baggage a clean slate. Biz 3.0 brands are all about being responsive, open, clean and meaning what they do; Trendwatching’s top picks are, Ben & Jerry’s, airbnb and Zipcar. They all have great experience and reinvention at their core, just like Google and Amazon (and Virgin) did when they redefined their respective industries.

From Trendwatching we jumped straight on over to the design perspective at AKQA to see just how these experiences need to be conceived…

“Evolution of an Interaction Designer “– Rob McIntosh, Executive Creative Director, AKQA

Traditional agencies and marketing organizations can learn much about reinventing processes, orchestrating their partners and the content creation roadmap from AKQA. Their vision is inspired by the great architect Frank Gehry and quite possibly, Steve Jobs– “to continuously question the process while protecting the art form”. Like R/GA, their approach is that of an ecosystem, with an emphasis on simultaneous collaboration. They are abandoning the notion of waterfall processes for what they call “SuperPrototyping”, real-time synergy and making while keeping the user’s narrative central.

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As the notion of design evolves and the titles of designers grow ever so long, AKQA proposes the notion of the “hybrid designer”, which they define as someone who transforms art and data together into an experience. In the same vein, we need hybrid agencies and hybrid-capability chief marketing officers.

A multi-disciplinary commanding view on the new consumer landscape will be extremely necessary to handle what comes next after Google Glass. AKQA predicts that cities themselves will be the new computer, and that omnipresent computing is near, when our phones will interact with our immediate context on their own, without us having to give commands. Ambient awareness sensors will prevail, a concept that forms the foundation of AKQA’s True City project for Nike with today’s technologies.

Editor’s note: This reminded us of the Lapka sensor system, which gives you bio-organic data on objects and the environment such as how organic an apple is or what the humidity in a room is. Time for full transparency, especially for food and beverage manufacturers…



Day 4: Future 25 Day

The final day of the festival, Future25, aimed towards university students aspiring to build careers in advertising and communications, found us all in a much more training and learning focused mindset. The Idea Bakery team had helped form the brief for the Future25 sponsor gnçtrkcll’s open call to applicants, delivered via 6 seconds of video for each section, to co-create a campaign using non-traditional mediums (no TV, print or radio) to improve smartphone penetration among their peers. Serfi was proud to be a jury member of the Future25 competition, which meant evaluating presentations from university students all over Turkey for most of the day. During jury breaks, Serfi argued for the importance of Brand Purpose in a seminar via cases from Coke, Dove, Red Bull and more, while Jose’s lecture on Co-Creation prompted the audience to re-consider the traditional iterative processes of creation at advertising agencies.

We hope we were able to plant some freshly baked ideas in young minds!


Serfi charting Evian’s purposeful strength and relevance since its birth

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Jose launching his intellectual attack on the traditional model of creative business

The day culminated in a collective and creative speed-dating session with a seasoned group of creative directors and strategic planners including BBDO New York’s Toygar Bazarkaya, Alice BBDO’s Haluk Sicimoğlu, Happy People Project’s Yaşar Akbaş, and JWT/Manajans’ Sami Basut among others. The Future25 winners were announced — not just one team for 1st place as planned, but 2! We wish them the best in their endeavors and lots of energy as they enjoy their award of attending Cannes Lions next year.



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