Meet Spotlight Awards Car Category Judge Cihan Eryilmaz. Cihan is a Senior Art Director at C14torce DDB, working mostly on automotive campaigns and he shared some insights about car advertising, creativity and more.

Production Paradise: What made you accept our invitation to become a judge on the Spotlight Awards panel?

Cihan Eryilmaz: Well, being a judge is always a good opportunity to sit back and to look at the big picture of our industry. I believe, we all need to do that every once in a while. And meeting new people, seeing good work is a plus! So, why not?

Production Paradise: After working with some of the biggest names in advertising in Turkey, you moved to Barcelona; what made you take this decision and have you noticed any difference in the way people work in Spain, vs. Turkey?

Cihan Eryilmaz: About moving to Barcelona… I have to say, it’s a very personal thing. Some people are always looking for something new, something different, something fresh. Well, I’m one of those. And after working 10 years in Istanbul, I simply couldn’t resist the idea of living somewhere completely different, meeting new people and working on something fresh.

About the second part of the question, well, of course, there are quite big differences between working in Turkey and working in Spain. But that’s a whole different story.

Production Paradise: You are a judge in the Car Photography Category of the Awards – what’s your opinion on how car brands are adapting to the situation post-covid-19 and the challenges of climate change? Is this reflecting how the campaigns are developed?

Cihan Eryilmaz: As you know, climate change is not something new. All the automotive brands are already working on that for a while by now. They’re creating their hybrid or fully electric models and preparing to leave the petrol engines for good in the near future.

But covid-19 caught them off guard, like everybody else. It was not something to foresee. Like all the other brands, car brands are also trying to adapt to the new world. They’re evaluating their current positioning in the market, their strategies, future expectations and even their structures. It’s obvious that the next -at least- few years maybe even a decade after the covid-19 will be quite difficult for everybody. A big economic crisis is inevitable. So, unfortunately, we’ll all suffer, including the car brands, since they’re not selling the cheapest products around, people will think two or three times before buying a car. We were thinking that in the future no one would buy a car, everybody would be sharing. Maybe that future will become a reality sooner than expected.

Of course, this situation affects our campaigns deeply. The way we produce the assets, the way we talk to the consumers, everything needs to be adjusted delicately.

Production Paradise: What has been your favourite campaign to work on, and why?

Cihan Eryilmaz: It was a range campaign for SEAT we did last year. It was a campaign about urban life and how people own it. It was one of these simple, human, and effortlessly beautiful campaigns, thanks to the great team and great director behind it.

And it’s my favorite one because I prefer working with real insights, showing real people, showcasing the product in a realistic way, saying something genuine, effortless and real. I simply believe that being real is the best way to sell a product.

Production Paradise: What sort of images would you like to see in the competition?

Cihan Eryilmaz: Well, great ones, of course!

All jokes aside, as you all know, we’re living in a very visual world. Pinterest, Instagram, and big, high-quality smartphone screens have changed the game, forever. Nowadays, people live in their social media feeds, unfortunately. And those feeds are full of incredibly beautiful, surprisingly witty, mind-blowingly tempting, bold, ingenious, and fresh contents which are specifically tailor-made for their users. And their lifetime is unbelievably short. Any fresh visual technique, approach, or style gets old, outdated in a very short time. Like ice creams in hot summer!

And the brands need to survive, and more than that, they need to stand out in this visual world which is constantly flowing. And this is a very, very, very big challenge. Most of the brands suck in social media, it’s simply because they don’t see this fact, or they don’t want to, or they can’t do anything about that.

And why is social media that important for the brands? There are still prints, billboards, catalogs, etc. where they can showcase their fancy products bigger, more properly. But social media it’s way cheaper, a simple and direct way to reach their target.  And since we’re expecting a huge economic crisis, social media will be even more important than before, for the brands.

And brands are not alone in this tough journey. We’re all in the same boat. All kind of advertising agencies, production companies, directors, photographers and all the other creators and providers.

So, as an art director from an advertising agency, I really want to see some pictures that can stand out in this vicious, visual jungle called “social media”.

Production Paradise: How important are online platforms for finding new talent? What platforms do you use to scout new photographers?

Cihan Eryilmaz: Very!!! Because, I believe, this is the best way to find a talent nowadays.

And to be honest, I don’t need to spend much time to scout a new photographer for a project. During the day, I come across lots of great social media accounts while scrolling which most of the photographers, designers, illustrators, online magazines, or online content providers use as a portfolio. I check their accounts, websites if they put their info. So, when I need a photographer or a designer for a project, I already have some people on my mind. Or already know where to look at.

Production Paradise: In what ways do you think Production Paradise Spotlight Awards could benefit photographers?

Cihan Eryilmaz: Well, the awards are always the perfect shortcuts to make yourself and your work shine, and also to networking and seeing other great works done lately and comparing yourself with those. So, I don’t think the Spotlight Awards will be any different.

We thank Cihan for the talk and are looking forward to seeing your images in Spotlight Awards 2020 edition!