Veit Moeller, ECD at Anomaly on scaring people with your work, why insecurity is not a weakness, and Berlin’s teenage years
REKORDER, Berlin-based film and photography creative production studio is proud to support LBB. Over the upcoming months, as part of the sponsorship of the German Edition, we will celebrate creativity and introduce some of the most innovative and creative minds in the industry.
In this conversation, we talk with Veit Moeller, executive creative director at Anomaly, Berlin. Veit has and continues to work on some of the industry’s most innovative campaigns and designs.
LBB > First of all, congratulations on your new position at Anomaly! What’s it been like getting your feet under the table at such a unique time?
Veit Moller > It was definitely a bit strange at first, being used to people in the office and then having to deal with a different way of working. But we are lucky in that Anomaly has a Cloud-based agency set-up so we can work remotely with ease. Our network of 800 people have been working together globally for several years already. It has been interesting to see that we are actually working much faster and much more efficiently than before, because people are pushed to communicate better while we are remote - you have to be more direct about what you have, what you want and what you need. I have also observed that people have been far more polite with each other as we all go through this shared experience.
LBB > Over your career, you’ve predominantly worked in Berlin (save for a spell in Amsterdam). What is it about working in this city that keeps you coming back?
Veit > Berlin is one of the most creative capitals in Europe. It’s a young city, a bit like a teenager growing into something quite interesting. I missed this feeling when I was in Amsterdam - which is a beautiful city with great creatives and great agencies, but Berlin still feels a bit experimental where the agency and creative culture hasn’t quite settled yet and that’s exciting. It keeps the city alive.
LBB > Do you worry that if Berlin does grow up, it might lose something culturally?
Veit > Probably, yes. But I feel like Berlin may always be a teenager. For me, Berlin is almost like its own country outside of Germany. A little island where people come together from all over Germany and Europe to create beautiful things. It’s a huge melting pot of different cultures, religions, food and more which is great for inspiration.
LBB > Historically, the industry in Germany has been known for its great automotive work. When working with international clients, do you still find that to be the perception? And what are your thoughts on the current standard of work in the automotive sector?
Veit > German agencies have much more to give than just great creative work in automotives. People sometimes forget that some of the biggest agencies coming out of Europe have been German and when you look at the work they’ve been doing over the last 20-25 years, it’s not just automotive campaigns. I think we should be taking more risks when it comes to automotive ads to push our creative boundaries further. We are missing some of the progressiveness in that field over the last few years. But I do think this is more of a global problem.
LBB > What was the last truly creative automotive campaign that you have seen?
Veit > I think Epic Split was brilliant. And we sometimes forget that this is an automotive film and idea. Honda and the 'Dreams' platform from Wieden + Kennedy was a twist on talking about car brands. I miss that sort of work. I think car manufacturers in particular seem resistant to the idea of doing something new and I think that is hindering our progress. Besides a few people on the client side, the majority don’t want to take a risk to question the status quo. When I had the chance to work for Mercedes-Benz we had these clients that gave us the chance to be different.
LBB > From the outside looking in, Germany appears to have handled the Covid-19 pandemic fairly well in comparison to other countries. How do you see the pandemic changing the industry more broadly? Are there any new habits or ideas you have picked up which you feel will become permanent?
Veit > I do think Germany handled it quite well and the government reacted very fast and was very strict on rules which helped us hugely. But I also think we got very lucky that we weren’t hit that hard compared to other countries. Everybody seems to be in the spirit of getting past the pandemic and finding revolutionary ways of working. This challenge we have been faced with has actually led to new creative solutions. It’s important that creatives not only come up with campaigns but come up with solutions and strategies. That is the core of creativity - being able to solve problems from every point of view.
LBB > Do you think creative people, such as yourself, work best when faced with extreme limitations such as this?
Veit > For me personally, I thrive under pressure and enjoy working to find a solution within a deadline. It’s part of my job and I love it. Thinking freely without any boundaries can be too open, so you need that sense of challenge to get great creative results.
LBB > Looking back over your own career, are there any projects or campaigns that stand out as especially significant and why?
Veit > I worked on the WiFi Dogs campaign for T-Mobile Europe and I learned that it really helps to be confident and to take risks. You will win with this attitude. On this project we decided to cast someone who had not been in a film before. The casting director found a valet in LA who was perfect for the role. The client was freaking out because he wasn’t an actor but everybody loved his aura and attitude so we brought him to Barcelona for the shoot and the director helped him step-by-step. We took that risk and it really paid off. After this, I felt more confident to take risks in my creative work. We let drones with 4K Cameras fly into a firework. I started to work for Mercedes-Benz without any experience in automotive etc. You need to feel a certain sense of insecurity to keep you going and out of the comfort zone to create better and better work. Insecurity sounds like weakness but I think it’s actually a strength in this case.
LBB > Your path into the industry started at a design school in Berlin - at what stage did you know that a career in creativity was right for you?
Veit > I always knew I wanted to do something creative but I wasn’t sure which path to take. I’ve always loved drawing and I was into drumming when I was 16. I moved in with my bandmates at 18 to try to make it as a musician but that didn’t work out. It wasn’t until I was at a party in Berlin with a friend of mine who is an actor, that I knew what I wanted to do. The people were like me and I felt very welcome. I realised that art directing and designing was a job and it sounded like something I’d love to do. I applied for a design school and they took me on. Two years later, I landed an internship in Berlin at TBWA which taught me the basics of what I still do today.
LBB > And what advice would you give any young creative looking to get into the industry today?
Veit > Scare people with your work. Make them uncomfortable. Because then they’ll take notice. If you come in with the best creative solution they won’t take much notice, but if you come in with a very different idea or script, they’ll see it as progressive and they will listen to you.
And one more thing: don’t reference advertising work with advertising. Reference outside influences such as paintings or photography so that you’re pushed to create something that’s not been done before. For the best outcome, make advertising less like advertising.
LBB > Finally, where do you find your inspiration?
Veit > My wife really inspires me. Her bubble is different to my bubble so it’s a huge source of inspiration. I love collaboration and getting inspired by all different people with different experiences.