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Uprising: Eliot Berger’s Passion for Advertising, Drama and Music

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The strategic planner at BETC on balancing between the advertising industry, going to drama school and running the BInarySound music label, writes LBB’s Nisna Mahtani

Uprising: Eliot Berger’s Passion for Advertising, Drama and Music


Working as a strategic planner, going to drama school in his spare time and running a music label, Eliot Berger certainly keeps himself busy. Growing up with an American mother, a Norwegian father and being situated in Paris, he says: “The multicultural heritage I was brought up in, has been extremely precious to me. We have always spoken several languages at home. When I was called in English, all was good, but if French was used… man I knew it was time to hide.”

From the age of seven, Eliot was working with professional agencies to further his career in theatre, cinema, theatre and acting, all of which were passions of his. “I was in drama school for ten years starting when I was seven and working with agencies professionally in films and theatres from nine to sixteen.” The confidence his performances gave him meant he was able to be an “Extrovert and outspoken, speaking my truth without filter, even though sometimes it would be better for me to shut the f**k up…”

Eliot decided to embark on a masters degree from IESEG School of Management, where marketing was his chosen course, though it wasn’t the experience he expected. “In hindsight, I feel disenchanted by my experience. To be honest, a business school was not as intellectually challenging as I hoped it would be. The classes and professors were all formidable and filled with knowledge. But there came a point where I wasn’t feeling challenged, and I find that to be a shame at a Masters level.” Rather, Eliot found that his experiences working as a tailor, waiter and bartender was more fulfilling to his personal growth. “These experiences above anything forge character and resilience, precious traits when working in this industry.”

Currently based in Paris, Eliot moved back during the lockdown period, reluctantly leaving London - the city he calls “awe-inspiring and energy-infused.” While it wasn’t easy, he made sure to put as much of a positive spin on the last few years as he could. “I found the lockdowns to be a challenging time, difficult to navigate and full of uncertainty.
But it has led to a lot of personal growth.” He says: “We all lived through this hellish dystopian time, but I was lucky enough not to have suffered during it.”

When it comes to the advertising industry, Eliot shares what he believes makes its consumption palatable: “Publicity is the Art form that makes capitalism digestible and advertisement makes it bearable. Considering this definition, all my life I’ve been building towards it.” He began at Publicis with Leo Burnett at the Paris campus, which he describes as a ‘deliberate choice’ to pave his way into the industry. In the early days of Eliot’s career, he reflects on the most useful lesson he learnt: “Show up on time and don’t be afraid to overstep your mark and defend the truths you hold dear and ideas you believe.”

With what he describes as a ‘genuine passion’ for the industry, it’s no surprise that Eliot keeps on top of the various developments within his field. “Read, explore, and listen,” he says, as well as encouraging others to expand their knowledge beyond the ‘bubbles we create’ for ourselves. This is where Eliot believes the most exciting aspect of the industry can be found, as well as creating an impact with every ad. “The sustainable and tangible impact we can have on consumer behaviour, and not the one that incites you to go buy more plastic bottles. Campaigns around humanitarian causes and nonprofits get me jumping in my seat. It’s when we put our talents to use to serve a higher purpose and calling.”

Like most things, Eliot strongly believes there’s scope for improvement within the industry, particularly when it comes to representation: “Diversity and inclusion [are frustrating] when the people having the conversation are a bunch of white CSP and marketers in a conference room. Maybe before going around telling others what to do, we should take a look at the room filled with dudes in turtlenecks speaking on the subject.” And that’s not all, Eliot strongly believes in the reduction of our carbon footprint, particularly when it comes to international travel. “Thinking about how to reduce our impact on the environment, not just for us or the clients but for every stakeholder involved. Forward-thinking and progressive ideas often require sacrifice, and ego can be one of the biggest barriers to that. I find it ridiculous that we still have in 2021 / 2022 entire project teams flown across the globe to shoot a 60s film that will often celebrate the brands’ ‘wonderful work to save the planet’.”

The passion Eliot has for the industry extends beyond advertising and into the world of music. Citing ‘techno, house, electro, breakbeat’ as some of his personal favourites, he explains how he’s been able to run a music label and be a party promoter at BinarySound, supporting charitable endeavours. “We have a vinyl label that boasts five releases with two upcoming in the pipes, a sub-label Arpanet Record repressing forgotten gems from the past and a non-profit label where all proceeds are donated to La Maison des Femmes - an inspiring organization offering shelter, legal and financial support to women victim of abuse.”

Inspiration strikes Eliot from the likes of Goodby & Silverstein when it comes to advertising and spans to ‘Sarah Kane, Albert Camus and Paul Claudel’ at the theatre. With a passion for music, ‘Nicolas Lutz, Onur Ozer, Lil Nas X, David Bowie and Lil Baby’ are some of Eliot’s personal favourites, though there are many more. Passionate by nature and ready to give everything his best shot, Eliot leaves us with his take on what he would like to achieve within his career: “Inspire a brand to change its mission and purpose from generating profits to helping its community. And not just as a publicity stunt, but really shift its powers from serving its corporate interest to empowering stakeholders.”


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Genres: People

BETC Paris, Wed, 22 Dec 2021 17:54:00 GMT