Designing a Better World, One Ad Campaign at a Time: BVK in Journal #369

“We believe improving lives makes for a better world. And by solving scary problems with brave ideas, we create meaningful change.”

If you’re looking for an advertising firm that cares for their clients as much as their designs, look no further than BVK. With offices in Milwaukee and Miami, this agency caters to clients all around the country. BVK accelerates growth in life-changing categories by solving business, brand, and marketing problems with art, science, and humanity. It all starts with a belief that improving lives makes for a better world; they don’t answer to shareholders, holding companies, or anyone else that gets in the way of their independence. From travel and tourism, healthcare and higher education, to B2B, CPG, and non-profits, their work inspires people to improve their lives in big ways and small.

Speaking of impact, BVK certainly knows how to make one with their creative, out-of-the-box ad campaigns. A prime example: their various advertisement posters for Footstock, the largest endurance barefoot waterski championship in the world. The as featured here include 2017’s “Punishment” (top, left) and 2018’s “Saw” (above). The competition is absolutely brutal on one’s feet, but it’s a yearly tradition, and every year the agency challenges itself to rise above their creativity and efforts of the previous year. The posters have even become collector’s items, and are featured in industry publications like Water Ski Magazine.

BVK’s posters and campaigns aren’t all this unusual, however. The firm has produced gorgeous ads over the years, including their “That’s WY” campaign in 2018 for the Wyoming Office of Tourism (top, right). Hoping to appeal to their audience’s innate curiosity and thirst for deeper, more meaningful experiences, BVK knew they needed to present both physical and intellectual reasons to visit Wyoming. Capturing beautiful and breathtaking images of Wyoming’s landscape paired with thoughtful, philosophical headlines, BVK showcases a land of adventure and wonder. The best part: for every dollar invested in the “That’s WY” campaign, the return to Wyoming in visitor spending was $275 – a 36% increase over the prior year ROI.

Here’s a sneak peek of our Q&A with BVK:

What would you change if you had to do it all over again? 

Michael Bleach, Copywriter:  I’d embrace the embarrassment. Looking stupid is temporary. Learning lasts forever.

Charity Ekpo, Graphic Designer/Illustrator: Assuming this is referring to doing your life over again, I’d say stepping out of my comfort zone more often.

Seth Gordon, ACD: I would go back and learn the importance of disconnecting much earlier in my career. But not at the very beginning, that would not have ended well. I would also have started incorporating more fiber into my diet years ago, the health benefits have been nothing short of miraculous.

Samantha Smith, ACD: I wouldn’t play it safe or tone it down in the first round. I’d push the boundaries out of the gate and let others reel me back in.

Austin Kelley, Art Director: I had a very nontraditional path to college since I had no Idea what I wanted to do. Through that I learned a lot of great things and met some great people so I don’t regret that but I could have gone through that process more quickly and gotten on the career path sooner.

Ali Coates, Sr. Copywriter: I’d go to art school. So far my math and zoology skills haven’t proved useful in my profession. As much as I still believe I would be a writer, I think exploring my creative side would’ve served me better than a traditional college degree. 

What are the most important ingredients you require from a client to do successful work? 

Nicole Irland, Sr. Art Director: Communication, partnership and trust make up the necessary foundation in order to create great work. These things open a dialogue and working style that can open up the doors to create memorable amazing work that everyone had a part in.

Nick Heiser, Art Director: A clear articulation of the problem and the one thought that needs to be conveyed.

C.E: Great communication, timely and thoughtful feedback, trust and taking risks are a few that come to mind.

S.G: Strong opinions and a spine. The best work always happens when you’re working with people who are honest and willing to take a chance. Whenever clients shy away from the occasional butting of heads or who desperately want to make everyone happy, you know the work will get watered down.

S.S: Trust and a willingness to be the first to try something.

A.K: For me the most important thing for a client to have is an open mind. Too often they will have a very specific vision in mind and let the work evolve as we go through the process. 

A.C: To know their stance and vision. I want to communicate what they believe to be true about their brand. If they aren’t sure what that is, neither will I.

What inspired or motivated you into your career? 

Mariah Zegers, Graphic Designer: I feel like I’ve always enjoyed all things creative and drawing has always been a big passion of mine. However, when I was introduced to graphic design,  I realized I used both my brain and my heart and being able to show off ideas that were both smart and sexy always kept my interest in wanting to create more.

For the rest of this Q&A and more from BVK, as well as other amazing featured designers, be sure to subscribe and preorder Journal #369 today!

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