Mathias Wikström, eurobest Innovation and Creative Data jury president and RBK Communication ECD, gives his views on European creativity and what he sees for the future of the industry
Mathias Wikström is a Sweden-based creative director. Prior to founding RBK Communication, where he now works as executive creative director, he’s worked as creative director at Havas/Euro RSCG Sweden and as CEO at independent creative agency A3.
In 2018 he founded Doconomy - a fintech company with sustainability at its heart - and spearheaded globally awarded projects such as the Natalia Project for Civil Rights Defenders and Aland Index Initiative with The Baltic Sea Project for the Bank of Aland, winning a good raft of accolades along the way.
This year Mathias is serving as jury president for the Innovation and Creative Data categories at eurobest. We spoke to him about the state of European creativity, his categories at the festival and the industry's future.
Q> Describe European Creativity in three words
Mathias> Hopeful, ambitious, precise.
Q> You have produced some incredible award-winning work in your career - which project(s) are you most proud of?
Mathias> There is always an emotional connection to the work that matters most to me, and I’ve been fortunate to work on many projects that I believe really matter. I'm most proud of the trust and the team behind all those projects. For a boutique creative agency like RBK to continuously do well at award shows like Cannes Lions makes me all warm and fuzzy. Commitment and creativity are not about numbers, but about people.
When it comes to individual work, I'm most proud of my colleague Johan Pihl and the way he spearheaded the Humanium Metal Initiative that won the Cannes Lions Innovation Grand Prix in 2017. [The project converts the illegal firearms seized by authorities into a recycled metal known as Humanium Metal and was first introduced in El Salvador where illegal weapons generated one ton of recycled metal. The material is supplied to commercial entities, designers and artists worldwide].
I had nothing to do with it, which is why it was easy just to be an impressed bystander and observe what great things our industry can truly achieve. Although, my agency RBK was also awarded the Cyber Lion Grand Prix for the Baltic Sea Project [a sustainable payment card] that same year, so we celebrated together.
Q> In what ways do Innovation and Creative Data complement each other?
Mathias> Data is a gift to the creative mind that is beyond comparison. It is funny though, how even unpredictability becomes a predictable. That is where innovation-driven communication substantiated by data kicks in. Our industry can lead the way because we can tell the story, illustrate the potential and draw the map all in one go. If we have clients that can see this too, success is inevitable.
Q> What challenges do you think the industry will face in the future?
Mathias> The industry and more specifically - communications - is at the core of what makes our world both so great and so challenging. We all have a choice: we can spend our days supporting those who want to make a difference or choose not to. We vote for politicians every fourth year in Sweden, with the brands we choose, we vote every day. In regard to the question "where are we as an industry going to go?” I think it's quite simple. We evolve.
Q> How does being a jury president at eurobest inspire you and your work?
Mathias> Tremendously! It’s not just all the great work I get to see, which is an inspiration, but rather the people. The eurobest jury room is like having the best of conversations over and over again. I've met so many brilliant people when I've had the opportunity to sit in on a jury, many of them become friends for life that keep inspiring me time and again.