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We sat down recently to ask Sami Lill about his experience with founding creative agency Uber Super Duper in Bermuda and carving out a niche in the market.

Can you give us some background on yourself and how you came to set up your creative agency, Uber Super Duper?


I grew up as a distracted chubby kid in Sweden, in a lively family with 5 siblings and a cat. I was curious about many different things, and learnt by experimentation and dismantling objects  (which I struggled to put back together). I played with lego, played sports, built forts, folded paper and drew a lot. My mother was an artist and my father an economist so I saw first hand how these two worlds coincided, yet had rather different virtues. The artists I met were passionate, but didn’t quite know how to do business and they often made little money. While the business folks often lived more stable and predictable lives, but lacked greater purpose and were scared to embrace creativity.

Unwittingly I sought out the sweet spot in the middle, where business and art overlap. Commercial art. I went to art school and studied advertising. I moved to London and worked for big agencies, which is where I really learnt the business. Uber Super Duper was born when I moved back to Sweden and I saw an inevitable need from brands to create strategic, engaging, original ideas across a variety of media. Creativity, with a purpose. I didn’t want a classic ad agency, so deliberately set up a more fluid, opportunistic studio. I haven’t looked back since.

What niche in the market did you see you were able to fill here for local businesses?


Our position in this market may be somewhat unique, due to lack of competition. But there is definitely a paradigm shift happening in Bermuda and a younger, more diverse group of entrepreneurs offering new ideas. Uber Super Duper is a multidisciplinary creative studio, helping brands develop strategy and concepts and then execute it in engaging ways to tell their story. We work with a variety of local IB companies, quangos, government, as well as international companies based off island.


You work with clients and brands from all over the world. What are some of the advantages and disadvantages to being based in Bermuda?


One obvious difference is that there is less personal interaction. So the projects we work on abroad tend to be quite planned and purposeful. It’s great in terms of productivity, but sometimes the lack of real contact – like being able to workshop together – means the process is more linear. The benefits are that we get to work with famous global brands, as well as work with progressive and ambitious brands locally. We have our cake and can eat it too.

"The benefits are that we get to work with famous global brands, as well as work  with progressive and ambitious brands locally. We have our cake and can eat it too."

Do you think there is a growing interest on a local level in more avant-garde and boundary pushing branding?


No question about it. Change is inevitable, something even the most conservative brands know deep down. The issue isn’t so much of being able to think of suitable innovative ideas, often the main challenge is simply being able to persuade a risk-averse client. Or a group of decision makers. Committees kill creativity. Many strong brands publicly say they understand the need to adapt and innovate. But somehow feel they should play it ‘safe’ and copy what everyone else is doing. Or even worse, do what they did  last year. It may feel less risky to buy into, but it’s a waste of effort.


You frequently mix disciplines to create finalized campaigns, but what is your preferred medium to work in and why?

We are deliberately promiscuous when it comes to media. The most important part is the big idea, which of course needs to be executed in an appropriate way. It could be made from cardboard found in a trash heap, or through painstaking frame-by-frame animation, or sprayed onto a pavement. At the end of the day, you won’t get noticed if you do the anticipated thing. Generally speaking, social media has completely shifted the traditional creative agency model, so it  follows that brands and creative leaders have to adapt accordingly. Relatively recently many agencies could got away with making brochures, web banners, radio spots and print ads. But these days clients are learning to demand more – bigger and better ideas, that work across a spectrum of touch-points. Even though we are totally isolated in Bermuda, we consume content like everyone else – in a live feed that contains all the biggest and best global brands. So when your crummy little flyer sits next to the new Nike campaign, you quickly realise how important it is to have an idea and raise the level of quality.


We rarely start a project with a medium in mind. We start by identifying the problem, and taking it from there. Sometimes we make a print ad to solve the problem. But more often than not, we develop something more surprising.

What part of your creative process do you enjoy the most?


It’s very satisfying to develop a simple solution to a complex problem. The elegance of a brilliant solution can be simply mesmerising.


What part do you enjoy the least?


Paper work and admin is not something I love. Fortunately I work with people who do. My colleague Lucy handles a lot of it.


Where and what do you derive your inspiration from?


Inspiration to me is a state of mind. If you pay attention and look closely enough, you can get inspired from anywhere. Velcro came from burdock seeds stuck to a trouser leg, bullet train shapes are taken from bird beaks, and many inventions came from utterly failed experiments. If one adopts an opportunistic, curious viewpoint, anything can be inspiring.


What would be your dream brand to work for and why?


Every brand comes with a unique set of challenges, so there is no set formula for who is best to work with. One thing, though, that tends to make a big difference to the success of a project, is the attitude and open mindedness of the client. If they are willing to be disruptive and to experiment, then we are bound to make something great together.


When you’re not working, what would we be most likely to find you doing for fun?

I hang out with friends and family. I like the tranquility of free diving. I play a lot of chess.

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