Tuesday, November 01

"VELVET EVOLUTION" - a short film about the development of the Czech ad. business


November 1st sees the public debut of a film which I "directed" (as a complete amateur) earlier this year, to be hosted on Mediar.cz.

The idea for the film came after I received a request from Euro RSCG to make a presentation to their European board about how the Czech advertising market has changed in 20 years, and how Euro's position within it has changed too. I thought it would be far more interesting if the audience could hear from the key players themselves, rather than just listen to me. Gilles agreed, and he gave me a free hand to write and direct the film as I wished. So of course the film charts the rise of Euro RSCG, and Gilles' role in that; but I honestly believe that they deserve this place in advertising history. People generally describe Marek Sebestak and Josef Havelka as the ‘godfathers' of Czech advertising, and their role is acknowledged in the film. But we should also recognise that, unlike them, Gilles is still going strong, that he started late in the market with no big revenue from network clients, and he has built the agency up across the entire region.

But the film looks forward as well as back, and I hope people will want to discuss the future after seeing it. Is Prague becoming a CEE creative "hub"? What are the barriers to its development? I think the signs are positive, although I feel the Prague advantage may be more about efficiency than creative excellence, which of course may disappoint some local creative people.

We all have an interest in Prague's success as a creative centre. It helps us attract both client and employee talent from outside our borders, and the overall quality of our output will rise. However as Brian Elliott of Amsterdam Worldwide illustrates in the film, a creative hub needs infrastructure. He refers to a really high speed, cost-effective digital backbone, and better international transport links. I believe that the communications industry and the film production industry have very similar goals and needs, and the two industries together can be a powerful voice to lobby government on these issues. Currently, though, the two industries do not talk to each other about their common interests.

I was fortunate to be able to make the film with the help of real professionals, but it cannot hide the fact that I have never done anything like this before. However I hope it will at least provoke some discussion. I'm ready to discuss all your comments, criticisms, hopes, and fears!


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