In the past people have been fixated on size: bigger houses, bigger cars, bigger salaries, etc. While some still subscribe to this idea, many have joined the minimalist movement; one which espouses the virtues of achieving much more with much less. This concept not only applies to consumerism but also to a manner of thought and representation. The intelligent, effective, and humorous use of this is represented well in the work of Gorkem Ciftci. This Turkish talent has used his wit and abilities to the artistic direction of many notable and award-winning campaigns. Some of the most stressful situations in life can be made more palpable by pleasing aesthetics and a dash of (sometimes dark) jocularity. For Ciftci, the intrigue of using a streamlined approach to convey a much wider idea is what keeps him interested and challenged in his vocation. Working with clients as diverse as Audi and CNN (as well as numerous others), Gorkem’s work helps to shine a light on the fact that no matter what your station in life there are certain common experiences that we can all relate to. It’s a lofty idea for someone involved in advertising and yet it’s proof that we are all much more alike than we might think.
The process of creating a campaign that is both minimal and intelligent is something of a contradiction to what it stands for. Gorkem admits that he frequently creates and develops many ideas before finding one that is appropriate. Great ideas don’t come easy, no matter how experienced you are. His work on two campaigns (CNN and Audi) were recognized in Cannes Lions, placing Ciftci’s name on the list of most promising young creative talents of the DDB Network. As a direct result of these campaigns, he was chosen to attend the London International Events’ organization Creative Conversation Sessions in Las Vegas. The Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity (formerly the International Advertising Festival) is a global event for those working in the creative communications, advertising, and related fields. It is considered the largest gathering of worldwide advertising professionals, designers, digital innovators, and marketers.
(GORKEM CIFTCI AT CREATIVE CONVERSATION SESSIONS IN ENCORE HOTEL LAS VEGAS, 2012)
Gorkem had been working at DDB&Co Istanbul for five months when Audi asked the company to help them promote their newest technology, the ‘’Adaptive Cruise Control.’’ His creation of the “Relationships” campaign was an idea that Ciftci was inspired to create when pondering the safety aspects in other life situations. He reveals, “I remember the very night that I came up with the ‘Relationships’ campaign. I knew how critical this kind of technological feature could be for a driver. It means a lot for driving safety. When it is switched on, it allows the Audi vehicle moving on a highway to automatically maintain a distance between itself and the car ahead. I started thinking of other life occasions where this kind of feature would be helpful. In an effort to make it interesting, I thought of sexual relationships; forbidden affairs in particular. That’s when I came up with the general head copy; Keeping a safe distance is always hard. This was an insightful line in my opinion and now I had to sketch the very first piece. I went on establishing the analogy between the danger of a crash on highway and the ‘’crash’’ between the counterparts of a forbidden affair which is sexual intercourse. The different scenarios quickly came to me. I came up with the examples such as: teacher and student, married spouse and ex-lover, secretary and boss. I told the idea to Yusuf the following day, He was immediately amazed by it. We went on drafting the layout next day and the idea was approved by the end of that week.” Yusuf Can Kayhan of DDB&Co. Istanbul confirms, “It has been always easy to track Gorkem’s enthusiasm in his campaign ideas. In particular, Audi was a very funky piece of adwork that garnered us great success at the Cannes Lions international festival of Creativity. The campaign had managed to be shortlisted in both of Press/Outdoor Categories which is often considered very exceptional. Gorkem’s Illustration skills also had moved the final result to a way higher level than we initially expected.”
Ciftci’s work for CNN Turk was personally rewarding to him as someone who is an avid follower of news and politics. Gorkem was responsible for ideation and copywriting for this campaign which focused on the reelection of Obama as well as the Greek Economic Crisis and European Crisis. Once again working with his creative partner Yusuf at DDB&Co, Gorkem came up with a governmental buildings idea that Yusuf was excited about. The idea was politically aggressive, yet harmless. No political figure was involved, simply iconic government buildings. The first presentation was simply a photo of the White House with a “Clear-Foggy” caption. Following this was a statement on the financial situation in Greece which juxtaposed photos of Athens and Washington DC and simply read “Low Pressure-High Pressure.” The final piece of the campaign commented on European politics with a “Cloudy-Stormy” caption. This idea of Gorkem’s succinctly found a way to combine the sentiments of the public regardless of their ideology and political leanings. This campaign has also been featured in Lürzer’s archive magazine, one of the foremost advertising publications. While it was intended to be viewed by Turkish audience only, its feature in Lürzer’s Archive Magazine has made it available to advertising lovers and creatives around the globe.
Even though the ideas which Gorkem envisioned and manifested with others are exceedingly brief and highly praised, they do not come without a price. He relates, “One of the worst aspects of modern day advertising is that ad creatives have to go on a brief research in some endless field that has accumulated enormous amount of knowledge throughout the history. They have to do this because they are either chasing a joke or making a twist in that field for their campaign ideas. In my case, I have had to become an expert on global politics. Examining different countries’ politics and trying to get a joke out of them was pretty challenging and not exactly what I had dreamed of when I began this creative journey…but it’s the price of doing something you love.”