Mixing work with pleasure in the search for creativity
Barcelona, March 21th, 2017
If you sit Murcia in Spain, you will hear the word acho! at least 100 times a day. It’s meaning? An abbreviation of ‘Muchachos’, an equivalent of ‘guys’ or perhaps ‘dudes.’ This colloquialisms can carry different feelings, depending on how the word is used and its intonation.
Someone can utter achos! to provoke a reaction, call someone across the street, alert somebody, express disappointment, etc… Ben Barber, Co-founder & Art Director of an homonymous agency tells us how Achos! also strives to get reaction and actions for its clients through the use of creativity and innovation.
Achos! is based in Barcelona and Rotterdam, and there are four ‘dudes’ (Achos) at the core of it, working together. But the agency also has a bigger pool of creative and technical people that it uses on a project by project basis.
Originally from Holland and half English, Ben has spent 16 years in Spain, between Murcia and Barcelona. After having a strong pull towards design from a young age, he decided to deepen his knowledge and moved to Barcelona to study Visual communication and multimedia design. This is where he met his business partner David Ortega, with whom he founded Achos!
The creative digital agency was created in 2013 in Barcelona “As an escape route from our routinary jobs and big advertising and design structures,” confesses Ben. “We define ourselves as a communication and interactive design agency. We are a creative lab that escapes routine, dedicating more time to experimenting and investigating each project. As a result we provide fitting creative strategies and design solutions. These allow our clients to distinguish their brand and most importantly reach and move people.”
Can you describe your agency in three words?
Tailored, Provocative, Gamification
In your opinion, what ingredients are key to create a successful digital campaign?
To create a successful digital campaign you need to have:
- Inclusive interaction with the final client
- A strong conceptual approach
- A lighthearted tone of communication
We use these ingredients to bake our own Achos! campaigns – literally. Last year we created a video to promote our website at a talk we gave at the ‘OFFF2016’ Creativity festival in Barcelona, the biggest creative conference in Europe. We added a new domain to our website at the time which was .xxx (www.achos.xxx).
We like to provoke a reaction and as you scroll down our website you will hear clips of ‘porn sound’ – hence the xxx. Our work is provocative and we could imagine the surprise of someone visiting at work and the whole office hearing this ‘not work related sounds.’ So we decided it was a good idea to invest in the porn domain for fun.
For the OFFF conference we baked around 400 cookies for the audience (I was baking cookies until 7 am) and put them in individual little zip lock bags that read “Please accept our cookies”. Our conference was the first one in the morning so when we got on stage, David (beardy man on the Chef’s photo, I am on the right) handed them out to everyone for breakfast. Everybody ate up happily while we talked through our presentation.
Which qualities of creativity do you look for when recruiting new people?
The ability to create strong concepts with a fun and experimental mindset
How do you prepare a standard project brief?
We simplify the info given to us to the maximum and do research trying to understand where the client comes from and where they want to go.
And then we tend to forget about the brief during the creative process
But we check on it every now and then just in case.
What are the things that one should never miss when you are preparing a project brief?
Never overlook the final target. If we are creating interactive experiences we can’t forget about who is going to interact with our websites or campaigns.
Name a challenge your team is currently facing.
Synching google drive
How would you describe the creativity culture at your agency?
We share the creative process with all our collaborators and we move a lot. We often create the best ideas outside of the office hours and this occurs while we are socialising, attending events and travelling.
How is that culture cultivated and maintained?
We try to avoid routine and keep on learning everyday. Getting out of the office a lot and having fun with the team is key.
What inspires you in your work?
I feel inspired by ideas that appear out of nowhere and fit the project perfectly first try.
What is your personal definition of creativity?
Application of fun intelligence to break established existing patterns.
Are there online publications, professionals, industry leaders you follow?
I don’t follow too much. Not great at names.
Which cities outside where you live interest you creatively?
Manchester, Berlin, Brazil & South Korea.
Please list a few of your favourite digital brands:
PornHub, Vice, Spotify, Playground.
What do you like doing in your free time?
Socialising, Skateboarding, Attend Barcelona’s events, Party and chill with popcorn, movies and my girlfriend.
By Geny Caloisi.