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Big Ideas

Fred: Thirst for Innovation

Ariel Broggi, the co-founder and Creative Director of Fred Beverages, talks about creative attachments, sudden inspiration, and the merits of the mustache.


Ariel Broggi is the co-founder and Creative Director of Fred Beverages, a consumer goods brand branched from thread, a boutique ad agency in Brooklyn. Hoping to ‘inject the stale, sterile category of bottled water with some personality,’ Broggi and thread’s founder and CEO, Adam Gayner, introduced Fred in the summer of 2006.  It is now available for purchase on both US coasts, internationally and online. Broggi sat down with Behance to talk about emotional creative attachments, ideas that come from nowhere and the creative merits of mustaches.

Free-form thinking practices and a heavy reliance on collaboration infuse the creative process with fresh, new, bold ideas. Broggi explains: “The best ideas typically come from abstract associations sparked by an unexpected event. Since unexpected events rarely happen sitting alone in a room, collaboration becomes essential. Our team gets together, we talk, we laugh, we argue. Eventually weird tangents lead to what-ifs, what-ifs lead to hell-yeahs and hell-yeahs lead to bottles of water named Fred. We are… still working out the kinks of this process.”

On a lighter note, he believes that hairstyles play a large role in the creative process. “Mustaches are proven to boost creativity. Ponytails are not.”The flipside of idea-generation is the ability to let go.  Separating oneself from an idea or concept that proves not to be feasible is something many creatives struggle with the most.  Broggi appreciates that emotion and creativity go hand-in-hand. “Coping with the loss of a loved idea remains the greatest challenge. Saying goodbye is so hard that many creatives simply can’t do it, myself included. We will spend the rest of our days lugging around a pile of mortally wounded concepts that we hope to someday miraculously revive.

It will regrettably never happen. Industry wisdom dictates that there is ‘always a better idea’, but that is akin to saying there’s ‘always a better dog’ when yours has just been flattened by a semi. There’s no way to take a dispassionate and clinical approach to creativity and reap inspired results, so we can expect emotions will get in the way from time to time. I’ve found the best way to overcome the challenge of dead ideas is to drink and bitch about it.”

While I’m certainly no master of time management, I have found one truth to be self-evident relative to the organization of creativity: multi-tasking breeds uninspired work.

Balancing a position heavily peppered with both creative and administrative duties, Broggi recognizes and appreciates the struggle amongst many creatives to be productive, efficient and artistically innovative at once. “In my experience, organization is a tough tart for the creative mind to swallow; organization being a fundamentally linear process and creativity being a sublime, sloppy mess. Organization is, of course, necessary when channeling creativity toward a productive end, but what a downer sometimes. The word deadline makes me want to punch myself in the mouth. But yes, we need organization.”

Finding the sweet spot where creativity can transpire in a well-structured environment is a difficult task, but employing a ‘keep it simple, stupid’ ethos has proven to be intensely beneficial in the creative development of Fred. “While I’m certainly no master of time management, I have found one truth to be self-evident relative to the organization of creativity: multi-tasking breeds uninspired work. The creative mind requires time, a string of several hours at the very least, to relax into a state of free thinking and association. Organization can be used to carve out this time and protect it from linear intrusion, or it can be used for evil, segmenting creative time into small, useless chunks sandwiched between production meetings, time sheets, expense reports, phone calls and emails. When we allotted time for idea generation and high-level design in developing Fred, we tried our best to keep it together and keep it clean.”

Comments (2)
  • wesbenn

    Thanks. The last two paragraphs shed some light on a question I’ve had recently.<br />
    <br />
    wes bennett<br />
    creative director

  • tfrlab

    peaceful design. love the package .

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