Global Headline Makers: Balazs Pocze from Hungary
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
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.”