You’re creative at DDB Paris, what is your background?
I grew up in Sofia, Bulgaria where I lived until I was 19. After studying in Scotland (Philosophy and English lit.) for one year, I got bored with analyzing what other people did and started looking for a more design-oriented school. I stumbled upon Miami Ad School Europe in the middle of one night, during one of those random browsing sessions. I had no idea what advertising is, but I remembered the Nike Scorpion and thought – that sounds like fun. I enrolled and started the course in Hamburg, where I ended up.. analyzing what other people did.
Since how many years do you work in the advertising?
I started at MASE in 2005, but officially started working at DDB in 2007, so that would be almost 5 years now.
You work with whom and on what subjects?
I worked for four years with Siavosh Zabeti (now at W+K). I’m currently working alone. I’ve worked on quite a few subjects – in terms of released work – starting from Henkel, through Airwaves, Powertape, Voyages-SNCF, Tropicana, INPES, MINI and of course a lot of stuff that never saw the light of day for Greenpeace, Lipton, Nike, Audi, etc.
Did you hesitate before working in advertising?
Not really. When I applied to MASE, Menno Kluin was just graduating and there was a lot of the work he did, which I found fascinating in its simplicity and smartness. From then on, advertising seemed more like a never-ending game of who can find the smartest solution to a problem, rather than a « real job ». I think even if I knew how difficult it would sometimes be in the real world, I’d still do it.
Tell us about 2-3 things you’ve done :
Tropicana Billboard powered by Oranges :
Attraction : An interactive Anime
voyages-SNCF : Bienvenue, Au Revoir
And a forgotten, but still one of my favourite pieces:
– Powertape Can :
Do you have some hobbies?
Shit, I should scan what other people replied and try and find a surprising response to this. In reality, no – I don’t paint, take photos, do cooking courses, survive for weeks in the jungle or design objects. I like books. I like to read, as much as I can. What else… does getting lost on Wikipedia count as a hobby?
Do you have anecdotes about life in the agency or customer relations?
Like all of us, I’ve been lucky and unlucky with different clients. Mostly lucky.
In your job what’s your best memory, and worst?
The best memory is arriving with Siavosh and Guillaume in Tokyo to meet Koji Morimoto for Attraction. The worst is realizing that what we thought are japanese energy drinks were stomach medicine. No, scratch that, that was awesome as well.
The thing that made you hallucinate in this job?
The enormous amount of talking and the tiny amount of working. Too many meetings to discuss (and usually destroy) a concept that is clear from the first moment the creatives came up with it. So yeah, what’s frustrating is that too little work sees the light of day. Annoying.
What are your favorite ads?
Playstation Double life
MTV Real Idiots
The Smooth-E Love Story series
Fox Sports (Cliff Freeman for life!)
Discovery Channel Mosquito –
L’Equipe « Papa »
Campaign : All the W+K LDN work done for Honda. Especially
The shot when the water drops on his head and the shot where he sees himself on the TV. Magic.
Claim : We try harder. / Does exactly what it says on the tin. / Never Knowingly Undersold
Do you have creative role models in advertising? People who inspire you?
Alexandre Hervé since day one, Tim Delaney for being the überwriter, TonyDavidson and Kim Papworth for everything from Flat Eric to Lurpak, Alex Bogusky for The Counterfeit Mini Coopers, Flintham / McLeod for Innocent, Skoda, Marmite…
In France, my respect goes to Fred&Farid, the guys at Buzzman and to everybody who’s trying to make shit happen.
With who would you like to work one day? (creatives, directors photographers, illustrators …)?
Not sure, somebody mad? Dario Argento, Friedkin, Tangerine Dream. Ivan Reitman would be awesome as well, although I have no idea how/why/when. Then of course David Cage, Tim Schafer and the one and only Hideo Kojima. Marian Bantjes. Christian Schwartz. iA.
If you started advertising today, where would you go? (in France and everywhere)
I guess right now the heroes of the day are Droga5. W+K Portland as always… Google Creative Lab could be interesting. Party in Japan. I think it’s mostly about which place pushes you to do more and best work and where do you find people that are willing to invest time in you in particular and help you grow. It could turn out you’re much better off at a small and upcoming place, rather than at Droga5.
What changes between now and your beginnings do you see?
There’s a lot more digital and a lot less good ideas. We’re in the ADHD Universe. A meme is more powerful than a huge media spend. A botnet, DDOS attacks and a mask can unite people more than anything else. CG’s not interesting anymore. Kickstarter could bring back adventure gaming/quests/anything.
On the other hand, I think the 30 second format is perfect for the fast world we live in. Imagine trying to capture the attention of today’s kids for an hour and a half, a whole movie. Good luck with that.
How will the business evolve?
Media agencies, digital agencies, production companies, web companies, entertainment companies, porn companies, [insert name] companies are doing advertising, viral videos, apps, all types of content. Look at Chipotle, done by CAA. Agencies are going to be under some serious pressure. But knowing how to come up with a good idea won’t change.
What would you say to a team of interns who wants to succeed in advertising?
Learn to distinguish between a good idea and a bad one. Only one way to do that – look at the classics, you won’t be able to go without them. Look up more obscure stuff than the five ads that make it in everybody’s best ofs. Build your own taste. Learn to understand code, that’s a big one.
If you don’t know what a programmer can do for you, you’re gonna have a pretty hard time. Learn to identify problems. Too often the briefs you get are solving the wrong problem or contain in them a solution, rather than the real problem. And most importantly, find people whose taste you trust. People whose work you really, really admire and are willing to spend some time to help you develop. Oh, and yeah, believe in yourself. Sounds boring, but if you don’t, nobody will.
Who are the people under 30 years on who you bet in the next 5 years?
The guys I haven’t heard of yet, but will hear about tomorrow.