Oskar Hellqvist — Creative Director, Abby Norm

Oskar talks to TheNextGag about his best campaign, what makes Swedish creativity so special and why Abby Norm is a different kind of agency.

Oskar Hellqvist is the Creative Director at Abby Norm in Sweden.

He had a stellar year in 2014, piling awards for the Photoshop Live: Street Retouch Prank for Adobe. Previously, he had been involved in some well talked about operations like Ring Roger or Boxer Roger. Recently, he has been asked to be a judge at the Mobius Awards and the Golden Award of Montreux.

THENEXTGAG: HOW DID THE ADOBE PRANK OPERATION CAME TOGETHER ?

OSKAR HELLQVIST: The Photoshop Live — Street Retouch Prank was the solution to a brief given by Adobe Nordic to promote the event Creative Days. The brief was to attract a big online audience to watch the live stream of the event, on a tiny budget.

TNG: WHAT DO YOU LOOK FOR WHEN RECRUITING FOR A CREATIVE POSITION ?

OH: The skill of seeing new opportunities in technology is something that we look for, people who think differently and have the ability to create regardless of media.

TNG: HOW BIG IS YOUR CREATIVE TEAM ?

OH: We are merging with a PR agency to create a hybrid PR/Digital/Advertising agency.
Therefore right now we have slimmed down to a few creatives.

TNG: HOW DO YOU AVOID GETTING POACHED FROM YOUR BEST TALENT BY INTERNATIONAL NETWORKS ?
OH: We’re different from the big networks due to the fact that we’re a relatively small agency and keep a non hierarchical structure. People who enjoy that tend to stay.

TNG: WHAT MAKES SWEDISH PEOPLE SO CREATIVE ?

OH: Wow. Not sure. Sweden was really early in building an information infrastructure allowing everyone access to the internet. I think that might have something to do with the fact that we have created a lot of great interactive work over the years.

TNG: HOW DO YOU DIFFERENTIATE BETWEEN THE OTHER LOCAL AGENCIES ?
OH: Our main differentiation is that we combine PR and advertising from the get go. We strive to only create ideas that have strong PR bearing.

TNG: DO YOU ONLY DO INTERACTIVE WORK ?
OH: No.

TNG: WHICH ONE OF YOUR CAMPAIGNS ARE YOU THE MOST PROUD OF ?
OH: I would have to say that the Photoshop Live prank definitely is up there. It was an experimental concept that our brave client dared to move forward with.

TNG: IN YOUR OPINION, SHOULD WE DITCH THE WORLD “DIGITAL” OR DOES IT STILL MEAN SOMETHING ?
OH: The transformation into digital is bigger than advertising, it’s a monumental behavioural shift. I think the terms days are numbered.

TNG: CAN YOU SHARE WITH US YOUR UPCOMING PROJECTS ?
OH: Nothing I can share yet unfortunately

Oskar Hellqvist

Abby Norm

Creative Director

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