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The Ingredients of Joy


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How São Paulo’s Mixer combines a bag of skills to create entertaining stories for brands.

Once upon a time, in a land far far away, there was a TV production company that picked up Cannes Lions year after year. Over 40 of them. But they did not keep doing it happily ever after. Why?

Ask João Daniel Tikhomiroff, owner and president of then fabled and now defunct Jodaf production, and he mentions two events: BMW coming out with “The Hire” in 2001, and quite counterintuitively, JODAF winning five Lions in Cannes: “I knew I had to change”.

What exactly that change had to be, wasn’t quite clear then. But he knew he wanted to be able to embrace the opportunities that the media revolution brought with it. So he created mixer in 2003. And yet today, seven years later, Tikhomiroff is honest enough to admit,  it’s still impossible for him to predict where things are going. So instead of prediction, he choses openness: “Everything influences mixer.”

The reason he can afford to think freely is an unshakeable belief. For Tikhomiroff, the chief creative skill at the core of his undertaking is entertainment. No matter how this media revolution turns out, he says, “They need content. Good content.” Content that people will tune into and freely engange with.

With this belief in good stories firmly at its core, mixer has become one of the more original locations on the new map of advertising. The company is not even trying to become a specialist for the momentary constellation of media, but is doing the exact opposite: it has become a despecialized community of expert storytellers. They range from the the directors, the visual storytellers, to the researchers in the documentary department, who find fascinating plots in our everyday life. Because of this mixer can work inside the traditional patterns. But it also constantly messes with those.

There is a strange reality we all had to come to terms with in the last year or two: Yes, the media revolution is happening. But it’s happening in slow-motion. And the outcome is still uncertain. So, what used to be done at Jodaf is still a big part of mixer’s work today. They produce 30 and 60 second spots. And expect to keep doing it. But they also invent television drama series, write documentaries, and motion pictures.

Via the combination of diverse creative skills, mixer has become a producer as well as a creator of content. And product placement and branded entertainment have become an important part of this business.

To combine advertising and drama, dcoumentary and brands is not easy: An important part of managing this openness is the mixer table. Part real table, part mental tool, it stands for the abilty to bring together a wide range of talent on short notice – and to discuss and receive inspiring input from people who share your vision.

Of course, this needs a special kind of creative. Visit one of the drama writing rooms where the twists and turns of  a year’s worth of episodes are being developed: It takes only a minute to see that traditional ego-driven creativity will wreak havoc here. This work can only be done together.

This has a massive impact on the concept and the reality of the creative process: When getting exclusive credit for an idea ceases to be all-important, options open up. It is not surprising then, that mixer has also experimented with bringing in the audience and making them part of the creative process. For their  award-winning TV series Mothern, they even made it a regular weekly event to invite young mothers and share opinions of new storylines with them.

Mothern was not only an incredible successful series. Mixer also started deveoping new ways of product integration that crossed over into branded entertainment. Speaking of OMO, a laundry detergent, and one of the series’ sponsors, Tikhomiroff says: “We did not even show the product.” Instead, mixer wrote plots that involved kids getting dirty… and parents being ok with it, because that’s what being a kid is about. “That’s the Omo brand positioning.”

Of course, not all brand integration or branded content will go under the radar this far. And mixer is ok with that: All that matters is that the advertising does not get into the way of the story being entertaining. “In the end, that’s all that counts. It needs to be entertaining, exciting.” says Tikhomiroff.

Smiling while he says so, it definitely looks like he’s follwing his own advice.

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  1. [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Marcelo Cortazio, Mario Gamper. Mario Gamper said: Ideaswiltravel interview with Joåo Daniel Tikhomiroff (40+ Cannes Lions) on how he creates Branded Entertainment. http://ow.ly/2ocvO [...]



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