2012 in Review with... Karen Corrigan
Karen Corrigan, CEO of Happiness in Brussels, looks over 2012 and thinks about the future.
How would you describe the last year, creatively speaking?
Nothing has changed. And everything has changed.
All the buzz words like "concept", "content", "communities", "technology"... they have always been at the heart of what we do. But now, they are more prominently present and they have to be "organised" accurately. That's the difference.
What have been your creative highlights of the last 12 months?
Happiness had the honour to create another campaign that marks its era: iQ Street View (five silver Lions at Cannes, Grand Prix for Interactive/eight awards at Eurobest last month). It's the third Grand Prix we have won for communications work for our client Toyota in four years, two of which are Interactive Grand Prix. Happiness has been helping to define industry trends before they happen and this really excites us as an agency to be so far ahead of the curve.
This is how iQ Street View was introduced by the president of the Interactive Jury at the Eurobest awards, Rei Inamoto of AKQA. Some extracts I am particularly proud of:
"Future is a very difficult thing to define. And just to help us think about the future and how to judge the future, one criteria that we set ourselves and the question that we asked ourselves was: is this something, is this an idea that was possible five years ago? ...
...and also it’s demonstrating a product by using an existing service and the limitation of that technical service and done it in such a relevant, simple, beautiful way."
What’s been your own greatest achievement over the last year?
For the second time in four years Happiness, an independently owned Belgian agency, ranked within the top three independent agencies in Europe (in 2009, Happiness was third in the global ranking at Cannes). It shows that today, whoever and wherever you are regardless of your agency size, when you have a dream and a plan that you live up to 24/7, you can make it happen.
What excites you most about working in advertising at the moment?
There are two ways to look at our industry. It can be either the scariest time or the most exciting time to be in this business. Happiness definitely chooses "the most exciting way".
What do you think the key trends and developments of 2013 will be?
We will be imagining creative and relevant consumer-driven services, empowered by endless technological possibilities communicated with bang on relevance.
Do you think the lines between traditional advertising boundaries and company roles will continue to blur?
Happiness was founded as an agency that believes that "everything and everyone is media", so for us there simply are no boundaries. Everything is possible, for everyone. Let's prepare for the survival of the fittest.
The business will favour those who have the talent, the organisation and the energy to make it happen.
How pivotal a role will the economy play in the creative output of the coming year?
Agency people will have to be more UPMS (Undefined Perpetually Mutating Specimen) than ever! This has been our internal credo since the beginning.
In an economy that is getting tough on a structural basis, organisations will have to be more agile than ever. On top of that, we will have to be as creative in the work as in the ways we will get paid for them.
What’s your New Year’s resolution for 2013?
At Happiness, 2013 is the year of "Kicking Talent's Ass!"
We love to see ourselves as "incubators of talent" who discover and then invest in the growth of new creative talents. No matter where they come from.
Ironically part of our incubator success is built on allowing people the freedom to experiment and fail. The reward comes from seeing those same people join us back on stage with our international creative peers after working hard, failing, falling, working hard and standing up again.
One of the new talent concepts we are implementing in 2013 at Happiness for example is the Creative Director of the Month. Every month a Happiness creative will be drafted to become the Happiness CD of January, February and so on, working on specific briefings. This offers them the opportunity to prove themselves and reveals who has real potential to become creative director one day.
If you could give one piece of advice to the creative industry for next year, what would it be?
That imagination may stay ahead of technology. And not the other way round.
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- CEO Karen Corrigan