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'I don't want to create ads, I want to create pieces of art' - Flo Heiss on his new project with Bacardi and Dare marketers

Former Bacardi marketers Heide Cohu and Nick Stewart have joined forces with a number of Dare colleagues including Flo Heiss and Mark Cramphorn to launch the Studio of Art and Commerce, which will aim to create 'cultural platforms' for brands. 

The consultancy, which began operations in Q4 of last year, currently employs around 20 members of staff in London and New York and is working with a number of projects with three international brands, The Drum understands. 

The team's intention is to create 'cultural platforms' partially stems from Cohu's experience of working at Red Bull including the Felix Baumgartner Stratos jump while she was global brand communications director and executive producer. The experiences created by the business will be designed to drive commercial success while connect with consumers and "contribute to people's live" the team state. 

"I don't think I'll ever have the chance to work on something that was so fully emmersing. We never knew what we were creating at the time but it was a beast of thing and amazing to be a part of," explained Cohu who added that it was an experience she took through with her to her next role in Bacardi

 While at Bacardi she realised that she didn't want to have to juggle a number of agencies with different skillsets, but rather find "someone who could understand how to connect with a younger audience and then be able to choose the right channels at the right time."

She cited the influence of Bacardi's marketing boss Andy Gibson as helping her to perceive the importance of 'engagement platforms' which helped develop the mission for the new business.

"What we do needs to be relevant to people so we look at what are people into while developing ideas and that's why we have cultural platforms within our proposition," added Cohu. "This helps to increase love for the brand." 

Cramphorn added while discussing the business focus: "We start with the end point - What is the objective? What is the commerce? How many are you trying to sell and how are you trying to sell them? Then we will work out who might buy them and what will interest that consumer to buy them."

Heiss continued: "That's the exciting thing - the venture we put ourselves into is to combine that in an interesting way of doing it, which is the art bit - so you look at the source of the challenge and find an interesting and relevant way of doing it. That's why we talk about culture in our proposition. It's about cultural platforms."

He continued to state that in order to achieve this, he was not interested in creating adverts for brands, but instead would combine his love and knowledge of art to help brands make the desired cultural impact. 

Heiss, the former executive creative director of Dare and Cramphorn, it's former chief operating officer have been refined its former managing partner, Gavin Bell. Meanwhile, Antoine Tetard, a senior planner at TMW Unlimited and Julian Hanson-Smith, chairman of Stockwell, are also on board the fledgling business. 

Image by Julian Hanford. 

Featured by The Drum