Executive creative director Danilo Boer and his art director partner created “BBDO Your Home,” their tribute to the work from home life everyone now finds themselves thrust into quickly after making the transition themselves.
Some were critical of the timing and tone of “BBDO Your Home” in light of what they perceived as a lag on the part of BBDO and Omnicom to move all employees to remote work, but others have embraced the project.
Boer said it is currently in the process of being adapted for other Omnicom agencies and clients. We caught up with Boer to get his perspective on “BBDO Your Home,” its response and shifting to remote work.
This interview has been edited for length and clarity.
AgencySpy: Some have responded negatively to the timing and tone of “BBDO Your Home” in light of criticisms over how messaging around the remote work policy was handled in the past. What are your thoughts on the the types of responses you’ve seen to the campaign?
Boer: To be honest, it’s been all positive to me. Before it was in the press, it was positive and every day since it has just been growing. Burger King CMO Fernando Machado tweeted about it. Cindy Gallop seems to love it.
I didn’t know about any issues with messaging. I was at home over the weekend and I did this thing. I had no clue about any criticisms. On Wednesday night, we saw that Tom Hanks got it and decided to stay home on Thursday and Friday. David [Lubars] and Greg [Hahn] said, “Do whatever you want. As long as the work is being made, we don’t care where you’re doing it from.”
David has always been supportive. I had a baby on November 23 and it was a tough situation. My wife was in the hospital for two weeks. BBDO said, “Stay there.” They even sent me food. Historically it has been such a supportive place. It was the same when I told the team to stay [last Thursday]. The last time I was in the office was last Wednesday. I even left my earplugs there.
What was the process of rolling out “BBDO Your Home” after you came up with the idea?
On Sunday night, I had the idea. The art director who works with me, Sho Matsuzaki, learned how to code the thing overnight. On Monday, the website was already done. When we sent it to Kristen, David and Greg; they were like, “Yeah, this is great.”
On Tuesday morning, Kate helped me write a quick message for Kirsten and they were like, “Yeah, we’re mailing it to everyone.” They were supportive, it was easy.
What kind of adjustments have you had to make to work remotely?
Everyone is trying to figure out the best strategy. The first day we were going to use Skype Business, and found it wasn’t ideal for so many people in a call. Since then we moved to Microsoft Teams. You feel that information is way more scattered, it’s hard to process it all, but people adjusted very quickly. My favorite thing is that it gave us a sense of community and we understand each other. I was calling my clients and we were all in our living rooms. We all had kids running around and messy hair and it was all fine. It created a personal connection.
Have revelations on how long these types of changes may be necessary while dealing with the prolonged impact of the coronavirus pandemic changed how you view this project or remote work?
I try not to think about how long it will be. It’s just the beginning of all of us trying to do nice things. We’re all going to try to come up with ways to cope and make people feel better. We have so many clients that have the need and want to support and help. One of my clients is Bacardi. They really want to support bartenders because they have no income anymore. There are bartenders out there with no work. [Attempting to deal with these challenges] is bringing people together.
What are some of your favorite iterations of “BBDO Your Home”?
Once everything is over, do you think that this will change how creatives and others in the industry view remote work?
At least in advertising, remote working from my perspective has always been so welcome. We do so many calls from home, so many Skype sessions already. For our business I don’t feel it’s an insane shift. It’s just more of what we were already doing. I’ve been at the same agency for 10 years, so it’s hard for me to talk about the industry more broadly, but people have been supportive of that.