Interview with Fredrik Öst, Creative Director of Snask

The Snask Team

When lockdown came in March 2020 and we had to move all our classes online, we were hit with a new, unique opportunity. We were able to offer our regular guest lectures to students on multiple campuses! For the first of these global, online talks we looked to Stockholm and we were joined by Fredrik Öst, Founder and Creative Director of Snask. Speaking to our London, New York and Manchester students, Fredrik talked through some of Snask’s incredible projects—from banks to festivals. He also introduced us to their amazing, pink studio space. All in all, there was great advice delivered with a heavy dose of humour.

We caught up with Fredrik after his guest lecture to talk about some of what Snask do, how it feels to go viral and making the uncool cool.

First of all, what is Snask? And what do you do?

Snask is a design, branding and film agency. We do brand strategy, brand design (graphic identity etc) and brand content (film, animations and stills).

You’ve worked with a huge range of clients—big global companies like Klarna, Spotify and Target but also smaller, local businesses like Stockholm microbrewery, PangPang. Have you got a personal favourite?

Malmö Festival 2014 was a milestone when we made the largest poster ever made before. We built it up as a 13 metres tall and 8 metres wide installation that we shot 30 metres up in the air.

Some of your campaigns have really blown up online. Can you tell us about one of your projects that has gone viral? And, do you make projects that will go viral or is it something that happens naturally?

Shower Beer must be the biggest viral hit. The smart part was to brand a product to fit for a very special and sacred occasion: drinking beer in the shower. I think we never produce content with the purpose to go viral.

For us, it’s about finding the best idea and execute it on the highest level possible.

Sometimes that results in a viral hit, sometimes it doesn’t!

Shower Beer got press and attention from all corners of the internet. How does it feel when millions of people online are seeing and engaging with something you’ve created?

It’s great of course but also a bit stressful to actually turn it into something good. We’ve had huge problems with distribution and negotiations around Shower Beer. So it’s kind of stressful actually haha!

You shared the advice “Don’t mix rock n’ roll with professional” in your presentation. How did you come to this conclusion?

Through various experiences and workshops. It’s not really an advice, more of a statement.

We believe in being both but perhaps not mix them too often.

In your presentation you said “putting the lifestyle of a brand in front of the project is the way to create real engagement”—can you explain what you meant by this?

Forget talking about the benefits of your service or product. The audience expect that to be perfect in 2020. They won’t leave a good review if it was perfect, but they will leave a bad review if it was everything else than perfect. Building a brand that stands up for opinions and beliefs is so much more important and that’s what actually matters. Instead of talking about an offer you should take a stand as a brand and push that out, that creates real engagement.

Your work with finance companies is always “really not what you would expect from finance”. How do you go about giving companies like this the bold, weird Snask flare? Do they always take some convincing?

Because we believe that people are people, not target groups.

We don’t believe in the idea of the difference between b2c and b2b. In the end it’s the same people. A person in an office won’t be thinking “I would never visit airbnb professionally” just to come home, take off the suit and suddenly think “I really want to use airbnb for my private holiday”. The person will like the brand of airbnb no matter if it’s b2c or b2b. So we don’t think that being boring and dull means trust and professionalism. Klarna is a great example of this. People trust the bank Klarna even if they have Snoop Dog as their ambassador and their brand colour is pink. Do you trust your mum? Your grandmother? Your sister? Why do banks have to have manly and classic colors in order to be professional? Why be navy and grey when you can be pink and gold?

You’ve also created some very “uncool” campaigns for cool brands. Can we ask why? And why does this make a successful campaign?

Because we thought it was the best way to achieve what we wanted!

It’s successful because of the idea and how people receive it, changing the idea and the boundaries of that industry.

In your presentation you said “Make your studio space a fun and inspiring place to be”. Can you tell us about the SNASK studio and what your set up is like and make us all jealous?

We have a large room at the entrance with a long table that fits all of us. It’s pink and on the wall we have a neon sign saying “Make Enemies & Gain Fans”. Further in there’s a pink meeting room with pink fur on the walls. Behind that is a pink kitchen with a terrazzo kitchen table.

Even further in is the back area with a pink toilet that has 8 singing toilet rolls. We also have a bar that is pink of course, as well as our police mirror meeting room. We also have another bathroom that is remade into the world’s shittiest Will Ferrell museum. Then we have the basement that is one big workshop and studio area.

Can you tell us about SNASK’s Internship programme? What kind of things do SNASK interns get up to? And, can you offer any advice for our graduates who might want to apply?

We don’t really have a “programme”—every internship is different. But they normally last between 3-6 months. Currently, we have a 2 year long waiting list.

Interns are not slaves. They assist in projects and sometimes get to handle projects of their own.

The advice to apply is to be cognisant that it’s 2 years waiting list. And send your portfolio as a link as well as a personal email where you don’t only talk about yourself but also why you want to do your internship at Snask etc.

Do you have any advice for new graduates trying to get in to the industry?

Don’t care about old white conservative men. They are, most of the time, garbage when it comes to being young and looking for a way in. Go your own way. Use your network and ask relatives, cousins, friends and family for help.

Can you offer any other advice? Nice, quotable advice very welcome!

Don’t be afraid to make enemies. Stay pink. Empathy and love is the only way forward.

Big thanks for keeping all of our Northern Hemisphere campuses, Shillington London, New York and Manchester, entertained during lockdown. Make sure to keep up to date with what Snask are creating through their website and Instagram.

We’ve hosted some of the world’s top creatives, design studios and advertising agencies at Shillington. Check out more interviews from guest lecturers.

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