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27 nominations for Gothenburg advertising agency

Linda Genborg 2012-04-16

Gothenburg based advertising agency Forsman & Bodenfors has 23 nominations in the biggest event of the year for Sweden’s advertising industry, the Guldägget awards. The gala takes place in Stockholm on Tuesday, April 17.

The agency’s Creative Director, Filip Nilsson talks to Göteborgs-Posten (GP) about the key to the agency’s 15 years of success.

“We have a long-term perspective in an industry that is not known for this. The most obvious example is our ownership model. The agency is owned by 27 people, and all work here. The key people are closely connected to the agency, and then you don’t need to worry that the most talented people will disappear when things go wrong. Everyone has equal shares. It’s pretty radical and an extremely unusual model.”

He says the agency started with a Gothenburg perspective, with the aim to beat Stockholm with amazement. And even though the agency is renowned in Sweden now, the underdog mentality remains. It’s in their nature, says Filip Nilsson to GP. But now the goal is to beat the world with amazement.

“If you travel to New York and talk to people in the industry they know of us, which is very cool. They think we’re exotic and strange, especially when we speak of our ownership model. In the US they often find it provoking, they think it's a bit socialistic.”

A creative environment free of prestige and hierarchy has been an important factor for the success.

“We sit in one big room, nobody is allowed to have their own office, and you never own your project, the team owns it. You can never say ‘stay out of it’. That’s the biggest taboo at the agency. We have also minimized the formal hierarchy,” says Filip Nilsson to GP.

”Our philosophy is to get people to perform at 125 per cent of their potential without being scared or feeling prestige. If you create this type of environment people will perform better than what they would do anywhere else.”

When asked which Guldägget nomination he likes the most this year, Filip Nilsson says:

“One of them is the tram sightseeing app we did for Västtrafik. There is a lot of nonsense in the world of apps, and you can choose if you want to download them or not. But the sightseeing app is for real, it's so functional and well executed and it has guided thousands of tourists through Gothenburg.”

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