The agency 

The agency, located in the Amsterdam Metropolitan Area, is known for having a diverse range of digital skills in-house, such as interaction designers, connection planners and even econometrists, who specialise in analysing the conversion between exposure and clicks and buys. “T-shaped” is how Sandra Soskic, co-CEO of the global network agency, describes these employees. “They have a distinctive speciality but at the same time they are able to combine the axes of business, technology and creativity.”

Creative business partners

Nevertheless, Soskic stresses that digital is not DDB & Tribal’s only solution in itself. “We always try to discover what the real problem or opportunity behind our client’s question is. Sometimes the solution to their briefing can be communications. Film, for example, is still the best medium for storytelling, and with more and more digital screens, there are more opportunities to reach the audience. But sometimes the solution lies in a different part of the marketing mix or even in innovation. As long as we grow our client’s business. That’s actually why we call ourselves ‘creative business partners’.”

It is because of this complete approach that many innovative multinationals hire DDB & Tribal’s services, such as KLM, Heineken and Adidas. A signature example of DDB & Tribal is ‘KLM Space’, an intuitive online experience in which many of the agency’s specialities were deployed. The activation, which was to tout KLM’s transatmospheric ambitions, sent a real balloon into space and the watching public could try to predict where exactly the balloon would burst via a live website stream. The winner was treated with a flight into space and the activation proved to be a huge success; besides winning a host of international creative awards, it generated 3.2 million YouTube views and 88 million media impressions.

Make it happen

Regarding this project, Soskic says: “Coming up with such an idea is one thing, but actually executing it is a lot more complicated. To make it happen we used a wide range of tech specialists who worked on the project for almost a year.” Among them were a ‘creative technologist’, digital production company MediaMonks and JP Aerospace, which was responsible for realising the actual balloon flight. According to Soskic, the project clearly demonstrates that the agency uses its skills for much more than just communication.

Future

Asked about the future of advertising, Soskic says: “Since we know more and more about the consumer, we will be able to service them individually and increasingly in real-time. The keyword, however, will always be ‘relevance’. It doesn’t matter if this relevance is offered through entertainment, an experience, a utility, or something else; in the end what matters is that our advertising is relevant for the consumer.”

Soskic finishes by noting that Amsterdam’s great digital potential exists due to the fact that the capital hosts so many digital sub-specialties, such as mobile, data mining, digital production and web design, to name but a few. “When you bring these different technologies together, you can accomplish anything. ‘KLM Space’ is just the beginning.”