Creative Insights: DDB's Psembi Kinstan on proving the efficacy of cut-through, ambitious creative

By AdNews | 10 July 2024

Creative Insights is an AdNews series investigating and uncovering the secrets of the creative side of advertising.

DDB Melbourne executive creative director Psembi Kinstan:

How did you fall into the industry? Was it deliberate or a misstep?

Somewhere in between. I discovered advertising whilst working in film and TV production. The creativity and problem solving is similar in some ways to pitching films or making entertainment, but condensed into weeks and days, not years. And there are bigger, more interesting problems to solve in our industry. 

What’s your secret sauce for commercial creativity?

At DDB, Les Binet and the team effectively wrote the book on marketing effectiveness. Big, distinctive emotionally-charged ideas produce more long term gains for brands. Finding the right mix of this and retail promotional activations are crucial. Creating engaging, memorable and brilliantly distinctive brands is our not-so-secret sauce. Here in Melbourne we have a world-class team of strats, business people and creatives that create enduring brand ideas and distinctive brand worlds. I’d say our craft is one of our secret weapons/sauces/analogies of choice, and it’s part of the reason our brands punch above their weight in effectiveness.

What’s the biggest hurdle now for creatives?

For Australian creative agencies, I think we all need to do better at proving the efficacy of cut-through, ambitious creative campaigns to spur our market on. I’d say the average is fairly low in Australia for the standard campaign, versus a market like the UK or the US where the competition between brands is fiercer. There’s a big sea of sameness here amongst brands; our biggest hurdle is proving that we need brands to rise above it.

Do you wear the black t-shirt uniform or are you a nonconformist?

Not too much black in the wardrobe here.

Can commercial creativity only take place in a room full of people in black T-shirts?

Haha, diversity of thought is required, so no, black T-shirts are definitely not mandated. I’d also say that many of the best ideas, from TAC’s ‘Meet Graham’ to Honda’s ‘Love Something Hate Something’ came from a strat data point or client conversation. Commercial creativity would be a lot less brilliant, and successful, without the nuggets of wisdom that came from outside the creative department, and often outside the agency.

What was the latest campaign that you worked on that you really enjoyed?

Our latest campaign from the group came from Mango. “Hex Your Ex” was an earned-first idea launching the new Vodka Cruiser dark cola range. We invited jaded lovers to get dark too - by inviting Aussies to offer up a discarded item that belonged to their ex to have it hexed by real witch Angela Dix (yes, I said, real witch).

Lovers could hex their old flame to a lifetime of packages being sent to the post office even when they’re home, being assigned the middle seat on every flight, patchy wi-fi, or having the dipping sauce always left out of their nuggets order. With ‘WitchTok’ having amassed more than 6.2 million videos on TikTok and 50 billion views, Vodka Cruiser might just be the first brand to tap into this, frankly quite odd, but hugely popular subculture.

In the launch 24 hours we nearly crashed the system with too many submissions, including famously scorned lovers like Love Island star Cassidy McGill and The Bachelor runner-up Bella Varelis, who brought their original roses from the series to be hexed.

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