iDidTht: With pretty sweet jobs in advertising, it was a huge risk to go out and do your own thing guys. What really pushed you to go for it?
Diogo: With the current content and media demands, we felt that there was a gap, that traditional, slower organisations couldn’t fulfill. With a lot of creativity being hindered, due to time, process and available resources, we asked ourselves, ‘How could we create a platform, that caters to this?’ Naturally we already knew a lot of creatives from our personal network, thus we decided to tap into this and create a platform that filters creativity on creatives’ strengths and not just availability. This inspired us to create Blacksmith Collective, which now has a vast network of specialists that allow us to do some pretty epic work.
Marcus: We are the super power that agencies can tap into if they want to do something really unique, mind bending or at the bleeding edge of what’s possible. Instead of just saying ‘Nah that’s too complex… no one can do that… this idea won’t work’, they need to give us a call and check. Chances are we can pull it off. We want creatives to dream up the crazy ideas instead of limiting themselves due to the restrictions they think they might have.
iDidTht: What a great ethos, we love great ideas! But should agencies not be apprehensive when you walk into a room? Are you competing with them?
Diogo: Not at all. We don’t want to take over the agency’s role. For us it’s about where the idea originates from and we are well aware of the processes etc. We see ourselves as being supplementary to agencies, by giving them an agile and nimble edge, to better service their needs. Not all agencies have the internal structure for some projects that may need a team who can work quickly or who can run with a part of a campaign that requires specialised services. We use a family mentality to make ideas happen with all the partners involved on a specific project, be it agency, brand, client or creatives. It’s about the work winning so that we are all proud. This is at the heart of what we do as a collective.
iDidTht: And it’s only the two of you who work full-time at Blacksmith?
Marcus: Sort of…We actually do employ a small invaluable full-time team of five people, who run the day-to-day operations of the company.
iDidTht: Ah, those sexy faces we posted a bit further up?
Diogo: That’s them!
Having access to a network of over 500 specialists across various disciplines around the world, means that no matter how complex the job, Blacksmith probably has the solution. These guys specialise in conceptualisation, strategy, high end photography, media production, documentary filmmaking, music videos, epic drone shots, live streaming of events (they even live-streamed an event for Facebook when Oprah was here – you get 1 million views, you get 1 million views, we all get 1 million views!), graphic design, web development, camera gear innovation, TVC’s and pretty much anything in-between. They have worked closely with agencies like GRID, Ogilvy and King James, collaborated with production companies like Darling and Egg and worked on brands like ABSA, Alexander Forbes, Carling Black Label, Castle Lite, Corona, Coca-Cola, Budweiser, Facebook, DHL, FNB, MTN, Nestlé, Qatar, SHELL and Visa. Although the word is totally overused, their model really is ‘disruptive’, and as far as we’re concerned they’re creating real solutions for agencies under pressure. Just last year, out of the top ten most valuable brands in the country, six of them worked with Blacksmith – a humble two man team, armed with endless solutions.