Studio Tour: DDB

(guest post by Marly Marquez, DD37)

After some days of sun, in early February, the first snowfall arrived in Vancouver and the visit of Class 37 to DDB was also held. On February 3th, the group met at 13:00 at the Digital Design campus to start their way to the studio. Between a snow storm and a snowball fight, we arrived to a beautiful building close to West Georgia Street.

After taking the elevator to the 16th floor, we reached a more comfortable atmosphere of creativity and design. Known as one of the best advertising companies in the world, the feeling of having arrived to a place where you would want to work in was felt by the whole group. Sara Caissie, the Account Supervisor at DDB, gave us a warm welcome and led us to a more pleasant place to talk about the company and answer our questions.

Stéphane, a Creative Director at DBB, joined Sara to discuss the company structure and share some of DDB’s projects. They introduced the different areas that exist in the company such as: Strategy planning & research, Traditional Advertisement, CRM (customer relation management), etc.

For DDB to continue to be one of the most recognized worldwide companies and at the same time be able to transmit the correct messages to the audience has been a challenge, but not impossible. They mentioned that in each project, they seek to create something unique as an experience for the users.

After a Q&A session, we started a tour around the floor where we saw the different workplace areas, brainstorming notes on the walls, card sorting, and other conceptual work. We also were able to enjoy the beautiful view that they have of the Vancouver Art Gallery plaza.

For their last motivational words, they told us to embrace criticism of our work to grow as designers and make our work better. For the future, they advised us to work as freelancers to build our industry profiles. DDB, like many companies, search for people with specific skills to work on projects. Also they invited us to send them our portfolios after finishing the DD program to see if they can offer us some internships.

All the 37’s want to give special thanks to Louise Lee for arranging the visit to DBB, to Danny Chan and Stephanie Wu for their patience and support and finally, but not least all, the staff of DBB for their advice and warm words.

 

INDUSTRY IQ STUDIO TOUR: TRIBAL DDB

(guest post by Mihaela Kandeva, DD36)

On a beautiful Wednesday afternoon, the DD36’s made their way to the office of one of the more well-known historical advertising and digital design agencies in the business, DDB. Once on the 16th floor of a typical business district building near West Georgia St, we were slightly overwhelmed to be greeted at the front desk by a very professional receptionist, who offered us a seat at their lounge area while we waited.

As we began to talk in hushed voices, afraid to disrupt the atmosphere, we were lead up a staircase covered in vibrant graffiti. Any first impressions we had begun to formulate went straight out the wall to wall, floor to ceiling windows: What a view overlooking downtown! The entire open floor plan was an amalgamation of meeting spaces, several bright kitchenettes, and modular computer desk areas, all done in minimalist fashion with a clean white and grey palette. Even the magnetic whiteboards covered in printouts and erasable marker somehow looked organized.

Doyle Dane Bernbach, also known as DDB Worldwide Communications Group Inc, is mainly a marketing and advertising agency, but they have two subsidiaries: Tribal, the digital arm, and Karacters, their brand identity shop. Despite having over 150 worldwide locations (4 in Canada), the Vancouver location of about 65 employees somehow manages to keep a very comfortable, non-corporate vibe.

They’ve created some innovative campaigns for many major companies, including Netflix, McDonald’s, and locals like BCLC, BCAA, and Destination Canada. We had the privilege to see case studies behind three more recent projects, two for Adidas, the other for Canadian Dairy. The true value of this visit really came from the insights into their process and how they manage to leverage existing platforms in intriguing ways.

We were told they hold two things in the highest regard: creativity and humanity. Usually those are words which most companies list as obligatory values, but DDB actually lives them. Half the desks at the office sat empty, people being encouraged to go out and work together at coffee shops, parks, anywhere they can be inspired for a couple hours. Hardly anyone was head down at their desk. Those meeting spaces all around us were occupied by people collaborating. We started noticing things like the ping pong table being used to brainstorm on, the kitchenette counters stocked with endless Tazo Teas and Starbucks Coffee. Surely, the Stella Artois fountain and unlimited ice cream supply must get the creative juices flowing.

Our trip to DDB left us feeling like kids who’d just come from a brand new shiny toy and candy store all wrapped up in one, literally leaving with ice cream bars in hand, smiles on our faces, enjoying the sun on the journey back to VFS.

This could not have been possible without Louise Lee organizing the tour, Danny Chan, our fearless leader, and Jamie Moon, our accomplice. Many thank yous to Charisse, HR Director, Stéphane, Associate Creative Director, and Gabriel, Sr Designer, for showing us around and for the free ice cream.

 

INDUSTRY IQ STUDIO TOUR: TRIBAL DDB

(guest post by J-P Crowe, DD35)

We were finally going to meet DDB! And I had many burning questions deep in my soul. Did you make the interactive Christmas tree for Canadian Tire? What are the salmon facts? And what the heck is going on with Translink?

But there were serious questions as well. One of my close family friends has done public relations for oil companies and tobacco companies, trying to defend people with a bad rap. How do you do that? What is it like in this day and age, when your corner candy shop selling fair trade Camino chocolates has become the neighbourhood McDonalds selling McWraps, and every guy has got to survive?

When we sat down, they were eager to elaborate on the Our Food, Your Questions campaign they did for McDonald’s where they promise to answer any question you have about their food. We also learned about their work for BC Hydro encouraging the public to curb their energy consumption in order to meet the needs of a growing population.

Their physical space is incredibly impressive. With few separating walls, it’s mostly an expanse of desks and computer screens with people dressed in chic business casual clothes. Surrounding this space are windows from ceiling to floor gazing upon the surrounding grey apartment buildings in every direction. Maybe it’s the futurist in me that can’t help but think about each mind behind each window in each of those buildings that designers try to understand and reach. As we headed back down the graffiti stairwell I was reminded that this digital agency is business on the outside and human on the inside.

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A Fresh Start at Tribal DDB

Jane & Benson

A few months after our graduation in December 2011, we (Jane Haezer Saputra & Benson Chan) were fortunate enough to land internships at Tribal DDB. (Yay!!) As Information Architect and Design interns, respectively, we both have had surprisingly similar and yet also different experiences. Below are short recollections on our everyday experiences here at Tribal DDB.

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Grad Nabs 2011 Young Blood Interactive Win!

Antonio Alarcon Roman never fails to amaze us. He wowed us when he was a student in Foundation and dazzled in the Digital Design program. Since graduation, he made Design Edge Canada’s list of the Top 10 Notable Designers under the Age of 35 and is currently creating award winning work at Tribal DDB Vancouver. Oh, and did we mention he designed Oomph?!

With so many awards on his trophy shelf, what’s his latest accomplishment? No less than being featured in the current Applied Arts Magazine (November/December issue) as the 2011 Young Blood Interactive Winner! This is a tremendous achievement as the Young Blood Interactive competition is one of the most prestigious forms of recognition for a young designer in our industry.

We caught up with Antonio right after his big win…

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