Vodafone Keeps It Real with Brian Doben
When an artist creates a personal project separate from their advertising work it’s because there are stories they want to tell and explore that the market isn’t asking for. But when an artist hits on something special in their personal project the industry starts to ask for it. That’s what happened when Brian Doben started his ‘At Work’ project. The ongoing series of images visits real people in their real working lives and offers environmental portraiture that reveals the heart of their work. Grey Advertising caught wind of Brian’s ‘At Work' and thought they would be the right match for Vodafone, the technology giant, who is looking to tap into a new market. “They’re humanizing the brand and ‘At Work’ was the perfect opportunity for them because they just felt that what they wanted to do was just create a day in the life moment image,” says Brian.
Typically technology companies focus their advertising on shiny new products or the future, whether it’s in robotics or what the omnipresence of the internet can achieve in the coming years. But Vodafone had a different idea. “They’re seeing an attraction to honest imagery. Even though at the end of the day they were selling a product, we’re trying to humanize the people using it,” says Brian. “We’re trying to capture an image that really tells the story for both Vodafone and how using a Vodafone product maybe will help them in their day to day. It’s embracing their customers, which is really what it’s about.” Technology helps us live our lives and take advantage of every moment. The way to understand that best is not through aspiration but through real human stories, and that’s exactly what Brian does.
For one of the ads he connected with the proprietors of Life Kitchen, a catering hall in London. Brian speaks the language of visuals, that’s why he’s a photographer, but it’s also the same language that they were speaking over at Grey making it a perfect partnership. “Grey’s Art Director is absolutely brilliant, he was great to work with. He had these amazing sketches that really helped,” says Brian. By interfacing visually, Brian and Grey were able to skip the confusion and get right to telling the story of this small business. “[Nick and Dave of Life Kitchen] explained that Nick will walk in the kitchen at any time and just plop his computer down and work in the midst of a very busy environment,” Brian says with a laugh. “And so I just wanted to it this as authentic as possible.” They tossed out their initial plans and just went straight to recreating that reality resulting in an image that is true to life, but also true to Vodafone.