We do see export potential for the Lithuanian ad agencies!

July 24, 2015

Interview with Rimantas Stanevicius, Creative Director at Milk Lithuania
Milk has recently been the most awarded Baltic advertising agency, they won the Creativity Case, the most important award at Golden Hammer creative festival in June 2015

What are the main developments in Lithuanian advertising since the last Balticbest?

Let me start with Lithuanian advertising festival ADrenalinas. We’ve had a lot of hassle around the festival and decided to postpone until September 2015 (usually it has been held in May). The award show itself was getting ridiculous. We had to re-think some of the judging and categorisation. The Game of Thrones of Lithuanian advertising…Regardless of how divisive the industry is when it comes to ADrenalinas, we were quite united when it came to other things. For example, a book about Lithuanian advertising (1918-1940) was published this year. A number of advertising people helped the author with selecting and reviewing some old ads in the book. It was a great discovery for all of us. Our grand parents driving Harley’s, chewing Wrigley’s, applying Nivea and many other interesting findings along the way.Another thing, which united a few advertising people under one roof was the opening of the first ad school “The Atomic Garden”, which is just downstairs from Milk.

What are the latest trends in Lithuanian advertising?

When it comes to trends, there’s nothing new. Clients are looking for the same old things: pretty pictures, nice music, consumer centricity, positive emotions, etc. Whether you look at telco or retail – a lot of ads just look and feel alike. Every beer has a heritage, every retailer is family-friendly. The biggest advertisers are coming from mature categories, they’re happy with the status quo and thus, aren’t taking any risks.The same goes for new global retailers who are only entering the market. Huge retailers are doing practically nothing. For instance IKEA had very minimal advertising when they opened their first store. One of the hardest clients I’ve ever worked with. They’re not going for anything fresh.As an agency, you’re hoping for a new player to come and stir things up a bit. It’s getting boring.To be fair, we did manage to do something unorthodox for some serious categories. We sold ERGO life insurance as “will power insurance”, for people who think they can be saving money on their own, but don’t really have the will power. Another rather edgy campaign released recently was for DNB bank. It features this fictitious character Don Shortcut. Even the CEO followed the fashion and presented his case at LEAN conference wearing Don Shortcut’s outfit and made it to the cover of Verslo Zinios.

So there’s a lack of new players on the market?

I might be slightly stuck in what I do and not really notice the things happening around, but I’m not noticing anything significant.On the other hand, a lot of new small Lithuanian brands have come out this year. Lithuanians have started to shop small. We’re talking microbrewers’ beer, local fashion and produce, etc. However, these brands are not big advertisers (apart from packaging and branding). It is exciting for the consumer, but not so for advertising professionals.

Therefore, our agency is not concentrating on local clients exclusively. It’s not sustainable.

Meaning you see potential in exporting your services?

We do see potential! The easiest market for export is probably Belorussia, but we’re also working with clients from Georgia, Uzbekistan and other former Soviet countries. And as a positive side note: we’ve finally sold the rights of one of our campaign to Canada!It can be branding, advertising, strategy – almost anything. You don’t depend on face-to-face meetings anymore. Today, you can communicate easily via Skype. It all moves along the international path.

Even our team is becoming more and more international. In the beginning it was exotic, something you can brag upon to your clients. The meeting is more sophisticated if it’s conducted in English. However, it can become an obstacle in some situations. For instance, the client might feel bad because he’s unable to give feedback as clearly. We try not to abuse it. Our foreign employees are trying to push the quality level of the creative output inside the team. It’s educational for us as well. You learn different point of views.

Interviewed by Hando Sinisalu, Best Marketing international