Q&A: Doug Kamp, ECD, gyro Chicago

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Doug Kamp, gyro Chicago
Doug Kamp, gyro Chicago

Doug Kamp, executive creative director at gyro Chicago, on why campaigns in the digital age need a human touch now more than ever.

Q: What would you say is more important, design or messaging—or can one not really exist without the other?

A: I've always looked at them as complementary. It all starts with a humanly relevant message. But for me, the most powerful messages are delivered with unexpected design. The best case is when the two uplift each other to make the idea stronger. People have such high expectations now that you can't just have a strong message without a certain sophistication of design.

Q: Is there any difference in creative planning with B2B versus B2C campaigns?

A: We only do it one way, and that's to start the strategic and creative process through understanding who we're talking to. For B2B, you're still talking to individuals, and it's still important to understand what will ultimately move them emotionally. People are motivated and compelled by emotion and they respond to emotional messages as people.

Q: Is there too much clutter in marketing today—tweets, Facebook posts, and Pinterest, and videos and emails andon and on?

A: All the connectivity and all the technology and all the amazing stuff you can do with it should make you feel like a god—you can share your thoughts with people on the other side of the world in a second—but it doesn't. Digital noise can make you feel numb. That's why it's so important—and that's why it's our sole focus—to find ideas and ways to connect people emotionally and touch them in ways that don't contribute to the noise. If you don't connect on a human level, then all that technology is pretty useless.

Q: What are some tips for cutting through the noise and the clutter?

A: The easiest way to cut through all that clutter is to find the emotion. We start with what's going to touch people, and once you get to that message, then you decide how. It might be through events or it might be through Twitter or some other digital technology, but you don't start there. Those things are means to connecting. Unless you have something you know is going to touch people honestly, it doesn't matter what technology or platform you use.

Q: What's a piece of work you've been involved with that you're really proud of?

A: About a year and a half ago we did a campaign called “The Weight Has Been Lifted” for a building company named USG, which makes drywall, and it's been a sort of signature piece for gyro. Instead of just selling the board, we touted it as a product that can lift a weight off the backs of workers in the industry. The ads showed people carrying heavy things on their backs [like a car, a piano, a rhino], to quantify the weight these workers are lifting if they're not using the USG product. How do you get through the clutter? How do you connect with people? Instead of focusing on the fact that the product is 40% lighter, USG was showing how it's literally lifting the weight from workers' backs.

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