Why TBWA\Helsinki Made a Series of Print Ads While Blindfolded

A message to clients about giving feedback

Newspaper readers in Finland are seeing some very strangely designed print ads for brands like Fortum, Nokian Tyres, Vepsäläinen, Atria Wilhelm, Arla and S-market. 

That's because the agency behind them, TBWA\Helsinki, did the work blindfolded. 

Have a look at three of the ads below. It's fair to say they're pretty wretched.

There is, obviously, some method behind the madness. As it turns out, TBWA\Helsinki won the Agency of the Year title in Finland last year—and as the winner, it got the chance to create the campaign for the annual Agency of the Year survey, which measures client satisfaction between marketing, advertising, and communications agencies in Finland. 

The blindfold stunt is the resulting campaign, and is designed to show how important client feedback is to agencies. This video explains more: 

"The results are bizarre, which really isn't a surprise," says TBWA's Timo Klemola, who was one of the blindfolded designers. "This was an extreme way of dramatizing how challenging designing advertising would be if you didn't know what you are doing. You can't emphasize enough the importance of feedback and transparency between clients and agencies." 

The Agency of the Year survey is based on a concept created by Swedish marketing research agency Regi. 

"If marketing is designed without data and feedback, the final results are rarely optimal," says Pia Grahn, CEO of Regi. "Remedial feedback is communication at its best, and giving feedback is at the core of the Agency of the Year study. By sharing their views about the strengths and areas of improvement of their agency, companies do a favor to themselves, for their agency and for the entire field of marketing." 

Now, everyone, go ahead and make the logo bigger.

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Tim Nudd
Tim Nudd is editor in chief of the Clio Awards.