Global Head­line Mak­ers: Balazs Pocze from Hun­gary

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Each month, the Epica awards team profiles a cre­ative talent mak­ing head­lines in their home mar­ket. This time, Mark Tun­gate, Epica's edi­to­rial di­rec­tor takes a look at the work of Balazs Pôcze, cre­ative di­rec­tor and part­ner of Mito, a Bu­dapest-based com­mu­ni­ca­tion agency, do­ing ev­ery­thing from pix­els to prints, but with a main fo­cus on on­line.

Imag­ine launch­ing a 24-hour ad­ver­tis­ing cam­paign, whose im­pact can be seen in real time, with the client looking over your shoul­der. And this is not a nu­anced deal – as the clock ticks down, the suc­cess or fail­ure of your idea will be there for ev­ery­one to see. Worse, the press are on hand to doc­u­ment the oc­ca­sion.

That was the chal­lenge facing Balázs Pőcze, cre­ative di­rec­tor and part­ner of Mito in Hun­gary, when he launched a project called ‘The Great Up­date’ for Mi­crosoft. We’ll re­veal what hap­pened later on. But let’s find out how Balázs ended up co-found­ing an agency of 150 peo­ple.

In 2005, he found him­self work­ing for a movie magazine – called Cine­ma­trix – the pro­ducer of which hap­pened to run an ad­ver­tis­ing agency on the side.

“When his copy­writer left, he asked me if I wanted to give it a try. I had no idea what a copy­writer was, but I was like, ‘Sure, why not? What do I have to do?’ And that’s how the whole thing started.”

He may not have known much about copy­writ­ing back then, but he was al­ready dig­i­tal to the core. He had a mo­dem at home when he was 12, and while he was still at school he con­trib­uted ar­ti­cles about the in­ter­net to, iron­i­cally, a print magazine.

Af­ter school­ing him­self in copy­writ­ing at the tiny agency, called Hey (it later merged with an­other small agency to be­come ACG.HEY), he re­turned to edi­to­rial at the Bu­dapest branch of Fin­nish pub­lish­ing com­pany Sanoma. There, he built on his dig­i­tal ex­pe­ri­ence by work­ing on a por­tal for young peo­ple.

The agency he founded in 2007 with two friends – Al­bert Farkas and Balázs Kovács – was orig­i­nally des­tined to be an on­line pub­lish­ing com­pany. But they very quickly saw that the worlds of con­tent and ad­ver­tis­ing were fus­ing. “Mito has its roots in dig­i­tal: al­though we now have lots of ex­per­tise and a won­der­ful track record, we

July/au­gust 2016

have 60 de­vel­op­ers in house.”

Shortly af­ter Mito launched, one of the three biggest dig­i­tal agen­cies in the mar­ket went bust, leav­ing a yawn­ing gap. “As­sign­ments started flow­ing in, so af­ter a cou­ple of months we started re­al­is­ing that it might be bet­ter to do prod­uct de­vel­op­ment on the side and de­vote our­selves to agen­cyre­lated work. Our com­pany has changed en­tirely – in 2007 we were just seven peo­ple.”

The turn­ing point was the Voda­fone ac­count in 2009. “By then we were 15 peo­ple, but af­ter we won that as­sign­ment, we had to dou­ble up our staff in about six months. The evolution of Mito hap­pened in par­al­lel with the projects we were do­ing for Voda­fone.” biggest on­line magazine, In­dex, to up­date its oper­at­ing sys­tem to Mi­crosoft 10 over the course of one day and cover the re­sults live on its site. For­tu­nately, there was no crash. In fact, ev­ery­thing went smoothly.

“What I’m re­ally proud of is that Mi­crosoft trusted us so much that they did not de­mand any edi­to­rial over­sight what­so­ever.”

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