THE BERG for Mila, Jakob Tigges

THE BERG

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Industry Corporate Communication
Media Promo & PR, Case study
Released July 2012

Credits & Description

Category: Best Integrated Campaign Led by PR
Advertiser: MILA / JAKOB TIGGES
Product/Service: CORPORATE COMMUNICATION
Creative & Art Direction: Jakob Tigges (Mila)
Editor: David Kaufmann (Mila)
Producer: Lorenz Kirchner (Mila)
Designer: Maud Cassagne (Mila)
Designer: Malte Kloes (Mila)
Designer: Tilla Baganz (Mila)
Illustrator: Cecilia Fossati (Mila)
Illustrator: Alex Wright (Mila)
Texter & Singer: Fulvia Di Domenico (Mila)
Account Manager: Aurora Dominguez (Mila)
Media placement: Competition Entry - Berlin Urban Design Competition - 14. May 2009
Media placement: First Facebook Fanpage - Internet - May 2009
Media placement: Interviews - Diverse Newspapers, Radio & TV Stations - From March 2009
Media placement: Portrays - Bars & Clubs - June 2009
Media placement: Linking Webpage The-Berg.org - Internet - August 2009
Media placement: Souvenirs - Kiosks - July 2009
Media placement: First ‘The Bergfest'Ffeast - St. Oberholz - September 2009

Summary of the Campaign
Mila / Jakob Tigges is a freshly founded architecture & creative services agency. We wanted to be known for what we are good at and at the same time lend a helping hand to Berlin’s uninspired city-planners and marketers. The urban design competition for the famous former Tempelhof airport appeared to be a good opportunity to demonstrate our capability to develop, shape and communicate powerful ideas. We entered the enthusiastic proposal of a 1000 meter tall imaginary mountain in the centre of Berlin and were swiftly thrown out of the competition and subsequently achieved more than we had hoped for. ‘Mount Tempelhof’ was covered in print, TV, radio and online media from Chile to China. In Berlin it triggered a grassroot movement that celebrates the mountain in bars and clubs at night and portrays it in elementary school art lessons and souvenir shops at daytime. The idea also spread virally in the web based social media. Ultimately, we managed to install a fantastic new icon for Berlin and a door-opening show-case for our agency: ‘The Berg’ (meaning ‘The - one - Mountain’ in German).

The Goal
Our goal was to provide a bankrupt and culturally stagnating city with a breath of fascination by creating a colossal icon – one that fitted Berlin financially and culturally. This icon would have to play with Berliners’ alleged defects namely their presumption and their plainness. Furthermore, it had to be something that people longed for and that inspired them – a common reference point. By providing a solution to a current dilemma we would manage two things at the same time: Giving joy to disillusioned Berliners and becoming known through an exemplary project that touched a wide range of people.

Results
Our initial investment literally comprised a pack of plasticine, 4 nights of work and 50 € entry fee to the urban design competition. Our return can be roughly summarised into: (1) Overwhelming coverage in local, national and international TV, print and online media, forming a gigantic self-unfolding PR campaign, the media value of which bursts any relation with initial investment and is beyond our most euphoric expectation. (2) A local grassroots movement that stretches from Berlin’s hottest elementary schools to its finest night clubs. Most relevant of all, we triggered people’s imagination and inspired many to discuss, make collages, write stories, celebrate parties, draw portrays – ultimately, see The Berg. We managed to create an imaginary sight or attraction that works as a new symbol of all the virtues of contemporary Berlin – and are known for having done so. Come and see the Berg! www.the-berg.org

Execution
We entered the mountain in the urban design competition, which was decided and published in mid May 2009. Although, the first images of ‘The Berg’ leaked out a couple of weeks earlier. To cope with all the interview and image requests we firstly put information on a Facebook page, later created the-berg.org a linking page that all sources could refer to. We accepted a sponsorship offer by the Austrian mountain lemonade producer ‘Almdudler’ to design and produce ‘The Berg’ souvenirs like snow globes and photo huts that were sold to tourists at Berlin kiosks. In the meantime many Berlin bars and clubs had asked for ‘The Berg’ portrays. Instead of selling these we produced a limited edition of individually framed The Berg paintings that were lent to a selection of bars. Several paintings have been stolen, copied and shops have produced their own Berg portrays. The Berg is still growing.

The Situation
Berlin is suffering from 60€ billion plus debt and heavy public rows on all big urban development issues. Opposed to its reputation abroad as one of the most lively contemporary urban cities, everyone in Berlin feels that the city has lost momentum. The resurrection of the Prussian city castle and the senate’s patronizing branding campaign ‘Be Berlin’ epitomize the city’s current creative downturn. In short, Berlin suffers from a lack of fresh ideas and contemporary symbols. As a recently founded agency, we had to cope with a lacking financial base and relative obscurity.

The Strategy
You desire most what you can’t have. Berliners have it all: world class museums, night clubs, parks, lakes, the sea at a two hour drive - the only thing impossible for flat Berlin remains a veritable mountain; which doesn’t mean we can’t have one… when Berlin’s senate called for ideas in an architectural competition for Berlin’s famous Tempelhof airport we seized the opportunity. At the time Tempelhof enjoyed unprecedented public attention due to the public row over its future use that had even led to a plebiscite. Our proposal to just imagine and pretend the most beautiful of all mountains on the site of the “mother of all airports” instead of adding another mediocre housing project might be rejected by grey administrators, but would fascinate many people as much as it fascinated us. We speculated on The Berg’s potential to emancipate from the competition to become a topic in its own right.