互动中国专访:IMG SRC CEO小池博史——小身材经营大味道

诚如上次workshop的最后所预告的(没看过的童鞋点这里),这次带来互动中国对IMG SRC CEO小池博史(Hiroshi Koike)的专访全文。小池先生虽然是在百忙之中抽出时间接受采访,但是回答相当之诚恳,教益良多。

采访/编辑: Wayne Tai(转载请注明稿件来源自DamnDigital)

IMG SRC成立于1998年,是一间致力于网站制作、视觉设计以及交互式应用设计的日本广告公司,其独特的创意与强大的执行力闻名与业界,作品斩获各类国际广告奖项无数,其中以2009年为uniqlo所制作的“Lucky Switch”系列最为受人瞩目,其对web banner新功能的发掘与线上线下良好的互动为其赢得了adfest2010年度Innova Lotus等多项奖项,并为客户创造了线下零售额120%,线上销售额150%的惊人效果。

IMG SRC旗下的NON-GRID也同样不可小觑,这间 2003年合并到IMG SRC的agency作品表一样熠熠生辉,2010年其为冈本制作的campaign“Love Distance”狂砍包括adfest大奖与嘎纳金狮等多个大奖,并且campaign本身因其感人的故事脚本与独特的互动方式在互联网上得到了非常广泛的传播。



(图为IMG SRC办公室实景)

DamnDigital特别采访了IMG SRC与NON-GRID的CEO小池博史(Hiroshi Koike),希望这次对谈能对国内广告圈的各位同学有所启发。(以下简称DM和H)

 

DM:小池先生,首先为我们简单的介绍一下你自己吧。作为IMG SRC与NON-GRID两家广告代理公司的高管,您可否也为我们介绍一下这两家公司呢?

H:大家好,我是小池博史,目前担任IMG SRC与NON-GRID两家地处东京的广告代理公司的CEO。

IMG SRC是一家以引领网页设计潮流为世人所知的广告公司,成立于15年前。从一开始我们就将设计与程序紧密的结合在一起——我们认为程序对于一个网站的交互体验是至关重要的,我们致力于用良好的程序设计带给用户全新的交互体验。

NON-GRID与IMG SRC不同,这家公司完全由设计师组成。在这里我们的目标是为网页设计提供艺术指导与设计标准,因此我们的客户也大多是时尚品牌、俱乐部以及音乐活动等。

两家公司的结合到现在已经有六年的历史了,我们相信这样的结合能有效的把程序技术与艺术设计紧密的融合到一起,创作出更高水准的互动体验项目。IMG SRC目前会接一些比较大的Campaign,而NON-GRID接受的项目则会比较小,当两家公司共同参与一个 项目时,IMG SRC会负责出品部分,而NON-GRID则负责艺术指导。

DM:大家都知道“IMG_SRC”是HTML语言里插入图片所用的代码,你们是怎么想到用这个代码来命名你们的公司的呢?是不是对你们来说这个名字代表了一些你们致力于的东西?

H:是的。<IMG>这个HTML tag自从网景推出Mosaic以来就一直应用于在网页上部署图片以及基于图片的链接跳转,而我们知道图片在网页上的出现直接触发了互联网的急速膨胀。我认为“Image”有时候就意味着设计,而设计改变一切。其实“IMG SRC”是“image source(图片来源)”的缩写。它可以代表你心中难以忘记或者难以形容的图片,可以代表你内心的理想与爱。当然了“Image”和“Source”这两个单词在日本人来说也比较熟悉。我们觉得“IMG_SRC”这样一个名字既简单好记,又代表了我们创新、有爱的精神。

DM:在这十几年中,你们面临过的最大的危机是什么?最后你们是如何解决问题的?

H:有一次我们已经出好final work了,客户却因为一些不合理的理由拒绝付款。当时的这个项目预算非常非常大,如果得不到支付那将是对我们整个公司以及我个人的极大否定。所以最后我们只好诉诸于法律手段去“讨薪”并且成功追回了款项,但是这件事让我依然很生气。

DM:我们知道不管是IMG SRC还是NON-GRID都没有太多员工,你们是如何用这么少的人手去把那些大型campaign制作与执行的那么出色呢的?你如何保证员工永远能出产出不凡的创意?你们的工作风格是怎样的?

H:IMG SRC最大的特点是我们不雇佣策划。当一个campaign开始时,公司所有人(总监们、设计师、程序员)会坐在一起思考idea,这样我们就能尽可能收集到来自不同出发点的观点。然后我们会为这个campaign设立一个目标——这个目标会包含三个部分:感性的、技术上、还有表现力。然后我们才开始根据这个目标进行具体的操作。有时候我们会对这个目标做一些小修改,当然有时候我们也会完全推到重来。

DM:我们对贵公司那个非常出名的campaign “Lucky Switch”非常感兴趣,你可以告诉我们一下关于这个项目的细节么——比如这种新颖的banner创意是怎么来的,以及你们如何认为这个创意将能很好的服务客户?

H:我们的技术总监Qanta Shimizu是一个好奇心及其旺盛的人。他在闲暇之余会进行很多程序方面的创新试验。他经常做的就是如何化不可能为可能。所以在我们开始操作这个项目(Lucky Switch)之前,他就在反复试验如何在现有的网络图片部署形式上实现创新,因此他已经拥有了达成这个目标所需要的技术技术,也明白会得到怎样的受众反馈。因此UNIQLO LUCKY SWITCH最后变成了一个病毒widget,以不直接出现特定产品的方式为UNIQLO 60周年庆每日特价活动做了很好的宣传。

DM:在” Lucky Switch”的执行过程中,你们遇到最大的困难是什么,?反之,最大的亮点是什么?

H:有一个比较突出的困难是如何让我们的widgert在所有浏览器下都能正常工作。还有一个就是如何让每日特价banner的layout在不同的环境下都好看。每个网站上我们的图片尺寸都是不一样的,我们必须考虑到这一点。当然最后我们成功了,在收到良好的推广效果的同时避免了干扰用户正常浏览网页。

这个campaign最成功的一点当然是我们的网络宣传极大的提升了线上/线下的实物销售量,并且在给用户留下深刻印象的同时成功避免了干扰用户正常浏览网页。

DM:如果creative concept来自其他广告公司,那你们会如何把它转化成你们自己独有的表达方式,并且在作品里完美的呈现出来。比如你们参与的另外一个知名广告“love distance”.

H:如果concept很吸引人,那我们就努力让它变得更吸引人。反之我们会尝试着在这个idea的范围内做到最好,这样在最后launch的时候起码问心无愧。

DM:小池先生,你们是如何说服客户接受你们的那些激进、疯狂的idea的呢?请具体的讲一下。

H:这个要看idea的具体情况。通常我们会直接带已经制作成型的demo过去客户那边,不管项目是大是小。如果某个项目有很多公司一起pitch的话,我们会尽可能的去想“他们的idea会是什么样的呢?“然后做出具体的对策。

DM:您觉得日本广告业界与西方广告业界最大的区别在哪里,相比之下日本广告业界最大的优势是什么?

H:这个问题不太好回答。我觉得对于西方来说OOH与TVC可能更流行也更有挑战性一点,这取决于不同的受众群体与不同的法律环境。就日本而言我们的市场中有很多部分尚在本土发展,还未达到全球化,这样就带来了广告成本的问题——充足的预算才会得到最佳的创意。另外日本人相当理性,我想这可能是为什么我们的高科技与互联网领域能领先于世界。

DM:在当下新一轮互联网革命风潮中您是否考虑过转变经营策略?

广告的宗旨是在最短的时间内得到最大的认知度。但是现在我们得考虑如何在互联网上进行长期的品牌维护,我指那些社交网站。我们目前主要的业务是production,但是我们也在考虑是否更多的做一些公关业务方面的突破,以此来得到更多的认知度。

DM:在所有你们团队所完成的作品中,你自己最喜欢哪一件?理由是什么?

H:我每一件都很喜欢。我们能达到现在这个水准是因为我们始终坚持对细节的关注。但是KOTORI这个项目——我们参与了设计、品牌定位、公关、网站运营等部分——让我们对作为一个creative agency未来的路要怎么走有了一个更好的认知。


(Kotori是日本一家提供耳机定制服务的公司,其定制的自由度相当高。主页地址:http://kotori.fostex.jp/

DM:小池先生,你和你的团队对中国市场有什么看法,我指的当然是你们对这一块是否感兴趣并且有所准备。

H:我们对中国市场非常感兴趣。两年前我第一次到上海来的时候我就爱上了这里热火朝天的氛围以及高速的城市节奏。每个人眼中都对建设中国的未来抱有极大的期待。那时我们会见了一些很厉害的本地设计师与艺术家,我们觉得如果能让日本与中国的设计师们在一起工作那将是见非常有意思的事情。我们现在正在物色一间工作室来展示我们历年的作品,这样我们的客人就能了解到日本创意的最新风潮,对此我们很乐意介绍中国的艺术家给他们。

DM:作为一家成功的创意公司,你对中国的同行们有什么宝贵的建议么?

H:我确定中国将建设的越来越好,因此处理广告与体验的方式也将产生很大的变化。将来是一团充满激情的混乱,你们应该全速直奔目标。

 

感谢您接受DamnDigital的采访!

 

Here below is the original interview transcript:

IMG  SRC is an award-winning digital design company founded in 1998. they work on a variety of projects including web/graphic design, branding and interactive installation. The outstanding campaign “Lucky Switch” to celebrate the 60th anniversary of UNIQLO’s parent company Fast Retailing and do daily sale without showing specific items on web sites wins the adfest2010 Innova Lotus and more other prizes.

NON-GRID is an associated company of IMG SRC, who focuses on art direction and try to establish art direction in web design. Mainly clients are fashion brands, clubs and music events. Their public familiar and award-winning (Adfest& Cannas Lion 2010) campaign is the “Love Distance” .

Damdigital=DM/Hiroshi Koike=H

Mr. Hiroshi, as a senior executive of both this two agencies, will you give us a brief profilo of yourself, IMG_SRC and NON-GRID? How do you describe the different roles that the two teams play in the big group?

My name is Hiroshi Koike. I am CEO at IMG SRC and NON-GRID based in Tokyo, Japan. IMG SRC is a creative agency, which was established 15 years ago and has been known as a pioneer of the web design industry. From the beginning, we’ve been doing both designing and programming. Programming is a very important part for interactive expression, we provide users brand-new experience by having deep knowledge of programming.

NON-GRID is a company, which consists of only designers. We focus on art direction and try to establish art direction in web design. Mainly our clients are fashion brands, clubs and music events.

These two companies have been in the tie-up for six years and now I do believe that we can create higher interactive expression for users by mixing skills and knowledge of design and technology.

IMG SRC now takes big projects and NON-GRID takes smaller projects. When both companies work on the same project, IMG SRC takes producing part and NON-GRID takes art direction part.

As know as an HTML tag, so how did “IMG_SRC” come in you guys head and then became the agencies name? Does it represent any characters of the team?

Yes, it is from a HTML tag. When a browser called NCSA Mosaic was released, a tag <IMG> was added. Then, internet started to become so big. This tag <IMG> made images possible to appear on the browser and to put links. It’s so simple that the power of images became the trigger of the whole internet boom.“Image” sometimes means “design” and design can cause a chemical reaction and innovation. Also, “IMG SRC” is same as “image source”. Image could mean images in your heart you can never forget or imagination. So, source of those images can be your ideal and your love. “Image” and “source” are well-known English words for Japanese people as well. We thought a name IMG SRC would be simple enough to remember and perfect for a loving company who make innovation.

What do you think is the biggest crisis the agency’s met in your 10 years’ history, and how do you finally get over it?

We were totally ready to deliver the final work of some project but our client stopped paying us on the way for an unfair reason. The budget was very big, so if we don’t get paid enough for what we’ve done, which means that all our effort would fail and it will be a denial of meaning of a company and myself as CEO. As a result, we managed to solve the problem by persuading them through our lawyer but even talking about it still makes me really angry.

How do you manage a so big campaign, and make it so perfectly, with minimize employees, how do you make the creativity always happen? What is your workflow?

A unique point of IMG SRC is not having any planner. Directors, designers and programmers sit together in one room and think about ideas for a project, so we can gather all kinds of ideas from different viewpoints. Then, we set up our goal of the project. “Goal” means something emotional, something technical or something about expression. After setting up the goal, we just work hard towards it. Sometimes we make little changes for better design and program and other times we need to be brave to make everything from the beginning again.

We are very interested about the famous-away and highly impressive campaign “Lucky Switch”, can you tell us some details, such as how does the idea come to you, and why do you think the idea can perfectly help your respective client?

Our technical director Qanta Shimizu always studies programming at his spare time. He often experiments on whatever he wonders such as “is this possible?” or “If I make this, how does it look like?” Before we started to work on this project, he was testing if he could make any changes on existing images on the internet and play with them. So, he knew that how this technique would work and what kind of reaction we would get from users. When we knew UNIQLO LUCKY SWITCH was going to be a viral widget to celebrate the 60th anniversary of UNIQLO’s parent company Fast Retailing and do daily sale without showing specific items on web sites, he thought this technique would fit what we were aiming at.

When you were executing the “Lucky Switch” campaign, what is the hardest part and what is your biggest strike?

The one of hardest parts was to make everything work properly on different kinds of browsers. Another one was to layout daily sale items beautifully in system wise. The size of the original images on website were different, so we had to consider both points. However, because we did our best for these parts, we managed to run the promotion effectively without bothering users experience. So, the most successful part was to get high likability of selling items and sale within this radical and surprising approach. Also, we managed to complete radical expression without stress of users.

If the creative concept is come from another agency, in which way do you and your team translate the idea into your own statements, and make the production perfect, for example, just like another famous campaign “love distance”.

If the given concept is interesting, we will try to make it even more interesting. If it’s not interesting, we will try to find something we can achieve within the project to be proud of our work when we launch it. I believe we can always motivate ourselves.

Mr. Hiroshi, when you have a really crazy idea, how do you convince the client? I mean in detail what will you do in the preparation and presentation, what is the unique way to be so persuasive?

It depends on what kind of ideas we want to convince but we usually bring demo they can actually see or touch. It doesn’t really matter how big or small the project is. If there is some other companies who are pitching for the same project, we will imagine what kind of ideas they will bring and try completely different ideas.

What is the biggest difference between Japan advertising and the rest of world represented by westerners, do you think the difference is somehow an advantage?

That is a really difficult question to answer. I think outdoor ads and tv spots are more interesting and challenging in the western countries. I guess that is because of differences of laws and customs but also because they have flexible thinking. In Japan, there are some big markets but some parts of our economy is not global and it’s more domestic, which means that there is a limit of budget and it affects the creative work. Japanese people are good at thinking things logically. I think that is leading to high technology in internet ads in Japan.

In the hurricane of the NEW revolution of Internet, have you considered to find an alternative or change the strategy of your agency?

The purpose of ads campaign is to get wide recognition in a short period of time but we will need to think about branding on internet in long term, such as connecting to SNS. Our main business is production but we have to think about PR strategy to get wider recognition and creating communities not to let the users go.

In all these campaign you’ve made, which one is your personally favorite, and why?

I like every single project we’ve done so far because we always care about even small things. However, KOTORI project that we took part in designing, branding, PR strategy, managing website, became a valuable project for us to know which role we want to play as a creative agency in the future.

Mr. Hiroshi, are you and your team interested in Chinese market, is there any further moves?

We are very interested in Chinese market. Since the first time I visited Shanghai about two years ago, I love the heated atmosphere and the speed of the city. I remember people’s eyes were sparkling so much and easily could feel everyone was excited about the development of China with a full of hope. We met some of great local designers and artists then, I thought it would be fun if we can be the hub of both of Japanese and Chinese creators and work together on a same project. We are looking for a new studio now to show our portfolio and work by other Japanese designers and artists, so our guests can feel the latest Japanese creative work. We would like to introduce Chinese artists to Japan too.

As successful ad agency, can you give some advices to our local creative youngsters?

I’m sure China will develop more and more. The way of expression in advertising and taste of users will change a lot too. There will be many exciting chances around you. You should run towards your dream at full speed.

Thank you!




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