Agency Perspectives: Camilo La Cruz, Executive Creative Director / Rapp Collins Worldwide

As Facebook becomes a larger player in global media, multinational agencies are playing an increasingly active role in the marketing ecosystem around Facebook and the Facebook Platform. Inside Facebook recently sat down with Camilo La Cruz, Executive Creative Director at Rapp Collins Worldwide, to learn more about how the global agency sees Facebook.

Thanks for your time today Camilo. What does the Facebook ecosystem look like to you at Rapp Collins?

We see our task for our clients as creating communication that can enable a dialogue. Frankly, that will never work if you don’t have anything interesting to say. But we are hyper-social creatures. Ultimately, we see brands as facilitators of social engagement under the general umbrella of entertainment or knowledge gaining. Facebook is one of the biggest places where that is happening right now. The question is how do you activate that “social tissue” and add real value?

We’re definitely still in the early stages. Most of the things that we’re doing are experimental. We’re an agency rooted in direct marketing, so we measure everything (and we have to or we’re not invited back to the table). Today’s Facebook is a mass medium in its own right, but that doesn’t mean you can activate it with traditional mass media approaches.

So how do you go about it?

You have to think about how to activate the social tissue. We start with a concept focused on people (not “consumers”) that we want to engage. For example, take Kidnap!, an application created for the Travel Channel with Context Optional. We’ve had two million “kidnap requests” sent since the application launched in July. Why? It’s entertaining, and it’s built with the traveler in mind – not the tourist. It’s delivered in an unbranded space, and only people that dig deeper for information about a particular location are exposed to the brand. However, that doesn’t mean that if Kidnap goes extremely well we wouldn’t build it as a standalone application or a gaming application.

How does Rapp think about working with Facebook directly vs. on the Facebook Platform?

Facebook is still trying to figure out how to engage and monetize their users, which leads them to think about experiences that are ultimately more interrupting in nature – even though they are more social. 98% of applications have less than 1,000 users per day. We want our brands to provide value to people as a service – either entertainment or information. Brands can’t just say things, they must do things. We see applications in particular as an interesting way to experiment.

My ultimate concern is my client’s business. One thing we’ve all learned is that the old model of interruption is no longer viable. The touch points with users must be emotionally rewarding. Facebook is a great space for that to happen.

We need to add value to your life so that you pay attention. And we want to allow co-creativity so that you can share it with your friends and make it social.

Can you talk about any other projects to date?

We’re working on several things that I can’t talk about yet. We’re very proud of our early accomplishments with the Travel Channel. I think we’re at around 250,000 monthly users. It’s definitely working for the brand by other KPI’s as well – like website traffic directly from the application, and in general. We’re fans of Facebook, and we will cotinue experimenting.

Thanks Camilo.

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