Interview: VCCP’s Gregorio Marangon, how creators of interactive advertising deal (or don’t deal) with users’ feedback

Mr Marangon’s avatar on the VCCP website

Gregorio Marangon works for VCCP in Berlin. VCCP is an award-winning company providing advertising services across the world from five offices in London, Prague, Berlin, Sydney and Madrid.

In this interview, I asked Mr Marangon how VCCP collects and deals with feedback after launching an interactive advertisement campaign, and how the feedback is incorporated in future advertisement strategies. I was surprised to learn that, even in the case of interactive campaigns, the bridge between the consumers and the creators is a very shaky one. The agency’s client — or else, the company that commissioned the advertisement — plays the role of the gatekeeper when it comes to collecting information and quantifying the success of a campaign.

Facebook page of the interactive campaign realised for Nike, “Hungry German Youth”

What does interactivity imply for your advertisement campaigns?

Gregorio Marangon: All of our biggest customers nowadays require the campaign we create for them to have a digital side to it. The purpose it to reach a larger market share. Interactivity for us implies that the user can engage with our campaign. For instance, we realised a campaign for Nike, where we didn’t just create the design, the posters, the social network and the instagram platforms, but also we organised a series of events around Berlin under the title Run Berlin. People could come see us; we were going around the town handing out organic food — the more they ran the more they could win prizes like smoothies, mango salads etc…

How do you measure the success of an interactive campaign once it’s been launched?

The client usually relies on external, specialised agencies that carry out market researches and test the success of a campaign. We don’t usually do that ourselves, at least not professionally. We don’t have a specific position in our office just for that task. For us it’s mostly a matter of curiosity.

Campaign for Airbnb

Can you quantify the success of a campaign? Can you retrieve the numbers?

Sure! As I said, there are purposeful external agencies that are specialised in quantifying data when it’s about large campaigns that run over TV channels and large media outlets. But in the case of an online campaign we can monitor the success ourselves. Notably, we can quantify it in “click” or “share” numbers via Youtube or Facebook. For instance,we realised Airbnb’s German campaign, which was completely online and which we won an award for. In that case the Youtube clicks were the most important indicator of the campaign’s success.

Is there a bridge between you, the creators of a campaign, and the public who is interacting with it? Is there a chance for the public to send you feedback? Or do you receive it directly from the client?

The contact between us, the creators, and the public is rather limited. It really depends on the agency, however. Every advertising agency has its own policy. Our clients are quite big, and hence they often contact specialised external agencies to carry out research in the level of success of the campaign. Through those agencies they also collect feedback from the public.

Do you think there should be a tighter contact between the creators and the public?

Well, I think clients would be scared if that were the case. Most of them, big as well as small corporations, are very strict when it comes to their external image and we have to respect that. We have to follow their decisions, and often we have to modify our initial ideas in order to respect their wishes (many times for the worse, I dare to say). It’s really rare for a client to give the creators of a campaign complete freedom. In fact, when they do, that’s when we get to do the most successful projects.

VCCP Berlin’s latest campaign for the German newspaper Bild Zeitung

How does the feedback influence your future work and strategy?

The public’s feedback plays a small role in influencing our subsequent work strategy. The client provides us with all the strategy data. We know what he or she wants and from there, we shape our campaign. It’s hard to do something wrong, but it’s also very hard to surprise (both the client and the public) and think out of the box. Sometimes, however, it works. Bild Zeitung became our client recently. We realised a campaign for them that is having a great success. We suggested them to publish the newspaper without any pictures and without any advertisements (for how long?). People started twitting and posting outraged comments on Facebook, asking what was going on. And that was exactly what we wanted — to shake the public and provoke a reaction. And it worked.