Ad-men Against Recession, Unite!
When i worked at Grey i often participated in the planning of parties. In the late 90’s that was a kind of rock-‘n-roll experience. In 97, we threw a party with a space theme. The invite to the party was a cardboard rocket filled with plastic Spock ears, a Mars bar, a specially created computer game on a floppy with a custom printed label. Each rocket was delivered by courier. If i remember correctly, the budget for that party was in the vincinity of 700K SEK (around one hundred thousand dollars).
In 2002, when i was working as a freelance consultant for Grey, i again got the assignment to come up with a theme, plan and execute a party for employees and customers. This time, the set budget, overall, was 20k sek. The dot-com bubble had burst and the country was deep in recession.
At the time, there was an exhibition on the Stenbeck brothers and their 1920’s Soviet revolutionary posters at Stockholms Modern Museum. It inspired us to clench our fists against the oppression of recession. Why should the Ad-agency world meeky accept the stings and barbs of recession? No! The time had come for Ad-men Against Recession International.
One fine morning, everyone invited to the party had a link in their inbox to this mysterious movie. That same day, posters started turning up around the office.
Each was targeted at different roles at the agency. ‘Copywriter – Author In The Service Of The Client – Wordsmith!’
Another one inspired and aroused the mighty Account Executives – ‘Workers stood behind him! – Clients demanded Quality! – An inspired workgroup followed him everywhere! Always there for the client! Always chasing the Client! Account Executive!’
And of course, la piece de resistance:
‘Always new ideas! Unstoppable inspiration! A true Creative!’ Yes, your eyes do not decieve you, the handsome Creative depicted is indeed yours truly.
Inspired by these posters, the day of the party arrrived. The guests flocked under a giant banner with the IRL logotype, and the second film was projected on a wall to start the party off.
Then began the party proper. Continuing on the Soviet theme, i believe we drank a whole lot of vodka, and maybe ate some beets or something, but my memory is hazy. Overall, it was a great party, i would say even better than the 700k one in -97. Scarcity is the mother of invention, i guess. All of us who worked with this were inspired, focused and extremely productive; i guess since no-one really expected us to succeed. I consider it a point of pride in my career.
As a fun fact, compare these films with this commercial made last year for Manpower.
Seem familiar? Well, Grey is the agency. And the Art director is my old colleague and star performer of the first film, Fredrik Almgren.