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。
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）
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。
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: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？
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”.
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” .
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.