Stink founder and MD Daniel Bergmann, global CEO James Morris, and Traktor tell LBB’s Addison Capper about their new global partnership
“There’s no I in team. But there is one in Stink. And in some countries there’s a U in togetherness!”
Traktor are reacting to their new global representation with Stink in typical jovial fashion. The directing collective legends began working with Stink last year, with the global production company repping them across the world, except for the US and UK, where Rattling Stick were working with them. But after “a fruitful collaboration with the excellent people of Rattling Stick”, which recently landed them a Cannes Film Grand Prix for ‘It’s a Tide Ad’, Traktor opted to part ways and consolidate its relationship with Stink, adding America and Britain to its representation.
“We have been with Stink for the rest of the world, and have been increasingly impressed with how they operate,” Traktor said in Stink’s announcement release. “We like the idea of being under one global roof as we move forward into the oscillating future of advertising, traditional or not, with our cargo shorts laden with precious metals and breath mints.”
The non-traditional side of production that Traktor mentioned is an area that Stink are excelling in, and a big draw for Traktor. While production companies grapple everywhere the nuances and complexities of this kind of work, Stink global CEO James Morris says that the company has been planning for over a decade to navigate such waters, most notably with the launch of creative studio Stink Studios.
“Stink Studios is hugely important to our future,” he says. “We’ve invested for over 10 years to do the best work possible in digital creative, but we’ve always strived to do projects that also bring the best filmmaking talent together with our creative and technology teams.” One of Studios’ first ever projects, Philips ‘Carousel’ - a Cannes Film Grand Prix winner - and more recently Adidas ‘SpeedFactory’, which ran before Blade Runner 2049, “both follow this principle”, claims James.
Traktor are wary of indulging in trends and fads but believe that, in Stink, they’ve found partners that are truly ready for where advertising is headed. “Through the years we have found that the Next Big Thing can sometimes become the Shrug & Scoff Mid-Size Thing by the time the case studies subside and the laminated badges fade. But to the extent that direct to client is a new reality, Stink certainly seems to be geared up for it.”
Daniel Bergmann, Stink’s founder and managing director, is pumped to have Traktor on board. Their work is, in his eyes, “entertaining and magnetic - no matter what the platform or medium”. When pressed on how Traktor fits culturally within the Stink family Daniel muses that they’re “from the same generation, with the same understanding of how film storytelling works at its best in advertising”.
James adds: “We have shared motivations in creativity, a passion for craft and a bloody strong work ethic. They also are playful and very good people at heart - something we put a significant value on at Stink.”
The signing is also seen amongst Stink as something of a coup in the US market, unsurprising given Traktor’s track record in the country (It’s a Tide Ad was created for the Super Bowl with Saatchi & Saatchi New York, for example).
“Traktor is a landmark signing for any company,” says James. “Not only that, they are at the top of their game in the US market. And to put it simply, we want to be doing the best work in the US.”
So, what’s in line for the future? Traktor’s relationship with Stink has already spurred some gems - ‘Worst Song in the World’ for French supermarket Monoprix won the Strategies Grand Prix, one of the country’s highest industry accolades. What’s more, their Grand Prix in Cannes this year was their third to date, making them some of the festival’s most successful directors ever. Unsurprisingly, they’re not quite done yet.
“We'd love to hang around for a fourth film Grand Prix if you'll have us. We are busier than ever, and still have a lot of fun attacking every job with the reverence and goosebumps we mustered for our first. Like Knott's Berry Farm, it's very much a ride!”