RA*W teams up with SID LEE for an evening of total immersion

Restaurants, bow-ties, world peace and post-party cleaning: Madelien Scholten & Helena Heras attended the latest RA*W session @ SID LEE and reported on their experiences.

It’s December 11th and RA*W had invited – nee – CHOSEN us to be a part of the Total Immersion – Creating Branded Experiences with SID LEE. What does that mean exactly? The 40 chosen ones were invited to eat, drink, listen to and interact with each other and the masterminds of the agency. Already quite a solid formula for an inspirational evening.


Emily Creek (Global Business Director) is a true character who simply understands how people think and work, no matter whether it’s the client or the creatives. She gave great advice for not only account people, but for everybody within the world of advertising. “The biggest fear for clients is not the budget, but the fear of not being in control.”

She taught us that you have to take clients with you in the process. Pitch them the idea as if it were to be the next big headline of an article on AdWeek, and when the client brings up the bill ask them to consider the value that will come from the money spent and help them move from a mindset of cost avoidance to value creation. It’s like going to a great restaurant. When you go to a great restaurant, the bill is not only for the food, but also about the environment, the service, the quality of the whole experience. In the end, when done well, it is the experience’s aftertaste what lasts, not the money.

Simon Wassef, Head of Strategy and one hell of a storyteller, illuminated us with pieces of wisdom about the world we live in today. He told us about how our attention is decreasing while brand content is increasing, therefore we shouldn’t limit our storytelling to only showing the story. Sid Lee believes we should get people involved in the storytelling; create experiences. They call this: transformative storytelling.

What better way to tell this story than with their own successful campaigns? We saw how their adidas project for the London 2012 Olympics rocked the world of many teenagers kids, people doing some self-exposure and sharing their own stories thanks to BNP Paribas during Roland Garros, and last but definitely not least, we had the privilege to get a sneak preview into the branded experience world of Absolut Nights! All based on the keywords: #interactive #storytelling #meaningful or #humantruth.

Varia Makagonova (Planner) emphasized the importance of transformative storytelling by sharing a model they often use themselves. The model, also known as the bow tie – because, well, it looks like a bow tie -, sees experiences as stories with a beginning, a middle and an end, paying extra attention to the experience itself.

After some reassuring advice on creativity from Frank van Rooijen (ACD), we got our hands dirty with a 15-minute brainstorm session fueled by pizza and team bonding. It was great to see the resulting presentations, which covered very varied topics, including world peace and house parties with post-cleaning services.



All in all, the event was a good combination of agency presentation, ideas and networking. We, as creatives, took more home than we had hoped for.

Madelien & Helena