A UK agency perspective on the Spanish Creative Festival held this weekend in Barcelona. Bright man, my grandfather. He taught me a...

Show, Don't Tell at OFFF15

A UK agency perspective on the Spanish Creative Festival held this weekend in Barcelona.

Bright man, my grandfather.

He taught me a lot of things when I was younger, such as always wear good shoes.

Or "Boys speak, men act".

When IBM moved away from being a producer of PCs to a technology logistics provider, they ran an advertising campaign saying they don't just talk about innovation - they actually do it.

I worked on this campaign at Ogilvy, called 'Stop talking, Start doing'.

And one of the problems I have with the communications industry, particularly in the UK is that it's just too keen to jump on modern buzzwords.

And by extension, it's a problem I have with many of the marketing and advertising events around at the moment.

Every agency will get up and talk about innovation, content, new technology.

But few do anything real in those areas in their day-to-day business.

So, when I have my own dime to spend, the only conference I go to is OFFF in Barcelona.

It's not that well known in the UK. But this year marked its 15th anniversary, having grown from an online Flash film festival (hence the name) to a major design event in the centre of Barcelona.

What marks it out for me is that it has a really humble nature to it.

There's no VIP areas.

Speakers mingle freely with the attendees. They chat to us, share a drink with us. They're happy to talk about the work that drives them.

The talks are not endless slides of marketing rhetoric and tweetable sound bites.

They are project break-downs and open, honest presentations about the creation of exceptional work.

Also notable is the nature of collaboration.

The various speakers love to work with each other. Many having met at OFFF in previous years and gone on to create work together.

Even the larger, louder characters such as Gmunk or Snask who present in an almost comedic manner are happy and open to chat in person.

I got to spend time with legendary designer Stefan Sagmeister.

Joshua Davis showed me how he created his latest work on his laptop. Helping me, as an enthusiast user of coding platform Processing, to understand his approach.

It all feels like a passionate community creating great work for big brands.

The festival's founder - Hector Ayuso embodies this attitude.

He's a quiet man. He says little, even when taking the stage to open or close the event.

He lets the event itself do the talking.

It reminded me of one my guiding principles for creativity - the filmic mantra of 'Show don't tell'.

It applies to screenwriting and directing as much as to modern branding.

The idea that either a brand or a person should allow their actions to make the point. Rather than overtly explaining themselves.

The work that we saw at OFFF this year was as inspiring as it always is.

But over and above this, a way of behaving - both as a creative individual and as a creative business - is actually the key out-take for me.

Just do the work in an open, friendly manner. Collaborate. Get stuck in and enjoy yourself.

Then let the work speak for you, your agency and your client.

My grandfather would be proud.


Martyn Gooding is Creative Director for Gravity Thinking.

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