Angel Iskrev: The festival awards are just a check, and can't change our goals for the long run

Gold and two bronze awards for Bulgaria at the international digital festival Mixx Awards Europe. The winning campaigns are from TELUS International Europe, Avon and Skapto. We are talking about the good stuff of 2020 with Angel Iskrev - creative director of proof. agency, awarded for the campaigns.

Mixx Awards Europe, 2020

Direct Response/Lead Generation, GOLD Campaign: Come back to Bulgaria Creative Agency: proof. Advertiser: TELUS International Europe

Tell us about the case of TELUS International Europe, which won a gold award in the "Direct Response/Lead Generation" category at the Mixx Awards Europe 2020, and more about the process of creating the campaign.

The topic of the campaign could very easily become patriotic - neither we, nor TELUS International Europe wanted that.

After we've reached to the insight that many expats in Bulgaria obviously see something we are blind to,

it was important to make it as everything as it can be - cute, and funny, and amusing, and roaring, and tasty, and awkward, and funny again. That's why we filmed over 50 foreigners with no script.

The whole campaign was so successful, thanks to our strategic department, which uses Programmatic in the most meaningful and unexpected way, and also found how to be 100% sure that we reach Bulgarians living abroad - we targeted foreign IPs that enter in Bulgarian sites at least 5 times a week.

Why would you return to Bulgaria if you were one of those 900 000 people living abroad?

I lived in the United States for a year. But in fact, Bulgaria is the land of unlimited possibilities, because there I would hardly be a co-owner of an ad-agency that employed 16 amazing guys in just a year and a half.

Speaking of your agency - this is the first gold for digital advertising in an international competition for Bulgaria. What does this recognition mean for proof.? What are the goals for the agency from here on?

The festival awards are just a check, that we are on the right path, which we chose for the agency at the end of 2018, and can't change our goals for the long run. They will always be the same: to do the most meaningful work we are capable of today and when we look at it tomorrow, to know that we can do better. All this while gathering people in the team with whom it is great to smoke on the terrace, even if we don't smoke.

Some time ago, from Cannes Lions on the stage of FARA shared that they have been observing an interesting phenomenon for years - winning the first gold from a country seems to unlock something and in the following years the level of all local entries rises. Do you think that you can unleash such a wave for Bulgarian digital advertising?

It is both true and not true. Romanians are a great example, but there is the opposite: Montenegro, Serbia, Pakistan, even Macedonia. It is normal when someone succeeds, another to try. Generally speaking, frequent festival successes come from markets that are part of the global advertising industry. Bulgaria is not.

Whether we will unleash a wave - depends on business decisions, how much it makes sense. For us participation only in local competitions is absolutely meaningless. 

You were part of the jury of Mixx Awards Europe. What is the thing you took as a lesson for the future?

Local stories need to be told very well, and the results - scaled. Otherwise you lose at the entry level.

What was the most impressive case for you during the awards?

The campaign we awarded for the Grand Prix in VR/AR - meaningful, modern and unexpected.

Mixx Awards Europe 2020, GRAND PRIX

Campaign: Eti Puf Music Academy

Media Agency: milklab / MG Media

Advertiser: Eti Puf

What is the future of digital advertising in Bulgaria?

I hope there are fewer and fewer people touching the cuffs and collars of their shirts, while trying to sell us Instagram courses.

And there is no digital advertising - there is advertising and it will happen even more often in digital.

Digital is not a channel, but an environment in which people live, meet, fall in love, quarrel, and the best thing about it is that as I write this, maybe some teenager is coding, at least, a new Instagram.    

Mixx Awards Europe 2020

Influencer Marketing, BRONZE Campaign: Foundation Portraits Creative Agency: proof. Advertiser: Avon

Mixx Awards Europe 2020

Product Innovation, BRONZE Campaign: air dropping fries Creative Agency: proof. Advertiser: skapto


Angel Iskrev is the Creative Director of the proof. advertising agency. In the recent years, he has been Digital Creative Director at All Channels | Interaction and in guts&brainsDDB. In his free time he is a commentator at Eurosport Bulgaria, a lecturer at SoftUni and NBU, a member of the board of IAB Bulgaria and a fan of the long hikes in the mountains.

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