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Why adam&eveBERLIN Wants to Work “On the Same Eye Level” with Brands

Company Profiles 98 Add to collection

The new agency’s chief creative officer Jens Pfau and chief strategic officer Philipp Schwartz set out their aims for adam&eveDDB’s third agency to LBB’s Alex Reeves

Why adam&eveBERLIN Wants to Work “On the Same Eye Level” with Brands
Above, left to right: Jens Pfau, Philipp Schwartz, Tammy Einav and Rick Brim

Earlier this month, adam&eveDDB, announced it had picked up the prestigious Deutsche Telekom account and is set to open adam&eveBERLIN to lead the business out of the client’s largest market.

adam&eveBERLIN will be led by newly appointed chief creative officer, Jens Pfau, who joins from Jung Von Matt/Alster and will report into Richard Brim, global CCO of adam&eveDDB. Joining him on the leadership team is Philipp Schwartz, who has been appointed as chief strategic officer.

As one of the most widely-respected agency brands opens its third office (and, post Brexit, it’s only one within the European Union), LBB’s Alex Reeves spoke to Jens and Philipp to find out what the industry can expect.

LBB> Congratulations on starting up adam&eveBERLIN. And with the Deutsche Telekom account win, that’s a huge way to kick things off. What do you think that means for the Deutsche Telekom brand, taking their account to a brand new agency - but an agency with heritage in terms of links to both adam&eveDDB and DDB more broadly?

Philipp> I think it's a very interesting situation for Deutsche Telekom. And a very comfortable situation for them. Because we set up adam&eveBERLIN as kind of a turbo boost for them. They still work with DDB Hamburg and will continue to do so in the future. And they've been working with adam&eveDDB in London already. So adam&eveBERLIN is kind of a perfect blend of both worlds. They're getting the creative power from London and they're taking a cultural angle from Germany and combining it in an agency. I think it's a very interesting mix for them. But it's not like they need to reboot everything. It's more like an addition to what they already have.

Jens> It's one of the biggest brands we have in Germany. There's so much going on - they're so busy with the sorts of things they're doing. They just need any help they can get from us to make it creative, make it emotional, make it approachable, because the brand is well known in Germany to everyone but it's unapproachable, technocratic, in a way.

LBB> Those principles of ‘approachable emotion’ feel very on-brand for adam&eveDDB as a network. Is that part of the DNA that you're trying to make sure that you begin this new agency with?

Philipp> Definitely. They are highly ambitious in terms of their brand and their communication and they really want to create fame around around the brand. That's what adam&eveDDB is famous for. So that's what they expect from us to create. As Jens mentioned, it's a giant in Germany. It's huge, but they still don't radiate. We need to add this and I think the approach of adam&eveDDB is exactly the right thing for them to have in the agency setup.

LBB> How much is the launch of adam&eveBERLIN linked to the Deutsche Telekom account? Were there discussions already going on, without the involvement of that particular client? 

Jens> I think the thoughts were there already before. After they opened the New York office in 2016, it feels like a good step to export this DNA to other markets. And I think this was just the initial event that needed to happen to make it happen.

LBB> Why have you chosen to open an office in Berlin, as opposed to another German city?

Philipp> Berlin definitely is one of the creative melting pots in Europe, and especially in the area where we want to start the office in Kreuzberg. This is a really creative place. It's a very international place as well. If you go to Kreuzberg, you have to speak English because people there don't speak German. It's a great place, very dynamic. I'm very much looking forward to feeling that creative culture in Berlin. It's going to be interesting.

LBB> DDB obviously is already a strong network within Germany. Why did it make sense that this was an adam&eveDDB office as opposed to just more of DDB Germany?

Philipp> A lot of it is about the thinking behind creativity and strategy that is very special in adam&eveDDB. In Germany there are a lot of good creative agencies, but they work differently with clients. They're more like agencies that execute. adam&eveDDB is different. They really challenge clients. This is something that we find very interesting – to really speak on the same eye level to clients and really push them forward, not just get the brief and create creative work, but to go one step further and talk about business problems. We want to talk about how communication can solve business problems for them and how to create fame for a brand. This is a different approach to most of the German agencies. Really, part of the idea of opening an office in Berlin is we want to attract clients who want to work the same way and want to talk the same way about communication and about emotions, not only about rational messaging. That's a different offer in the German market. And that's why we believe there will be a lot of clients really interested in what we have to offer.

LBB> It's a tough time to be attracting talent. So what are your priorities in terms of the sorts of people you want to work at adam&eveBERLIN?

Jens> Hands on. Coming out of the pandemic, we want a culture. We just popped into the office in London. It's like a beehive – there's so much energy in the place. We want to open this energetic place that comes up with creative excellence every single day just because they love it more than anything else. This is the way to grow culture. To be there, sit together, do the work together - just smart people in a room. Of course, it needs to be a diverse team, and we want to get things right there as well. But it's not more than that. It sounds quite easy, and I think just by the name of adam&eveDDB coming into the German market, it already feels like there is a huge attraction to creative talent. I think it should work out.

LBB> Also, like you say about being in Kreuzberg, It'll be interesting to see how diverse talent is, in terms of where people are coming from internationally. Hopefully, there'll be some kind of pull as well. Which is maybe something you see in Berlin more than other German cities.

Jens> Oh, absolutely. We call them the 'creative backpackers'. It's really great because you have so many people from the whole world coming to Berlin and into the creative industry. The downside is they eventually might get lost sooner or later because they're off to something else. But this is what keeps it interesting. 

LBB> What adam&eveDDB work from the past do you most admire and look to as the level that you want to achieve in this new agency?

Jens> It's not only the creative execution. There are obviously things like John Lewis from from the past I don't know how many years – us Germans looked to adam&eveDDB in London all the time. But it's it's also all the other work that has such a such a great strategy behind it. This is where the work actually starts. Also in consulting with clients to do the right thing, no matter if it might be creative or not. But just doing something that is incredibly efficient.

Jens> I've known Rick [Brim, global CCO of adam&eveDDB] for quite a lot of years and where we're quite similar in terms of creativity is we like when it gets really emotional, when you can feel it, when it does something to you, when it's not just blunt advertising. This is what we're striving for.

Philipp> adam&eveDDB is not only advertising, it's creative work that becomes part of the culture. That is the big difference. And it's also something that's really attractive to people, not just doing advertising, but something that matters to culture. I really love a lot of stuff that has been coming from from adam&eveDDB London. But to be fair, if you're trying to become part of the culture, you need to know the culture. And that's why there haven't been a lot of British campaigns that have been launched in Germany. It's so tailor made to British culture that it wouldn't work the same way in Germany. And that's why it's important to also have the cultural angle into the society of a country. This is definitely something that we can deliver. So I think it's these two things that we will combine - the creative power and the cultural angle - that will lead to creative work that creates fame. That's where we're heading to. I mean, it's quite ambitious, but we're also quite confident.

LBB> Anything else you’d like to add that potential clients should know about your new agency?

Philipp> There's a message we want to send to German clients and especially the German clients who know that communication is about emotion. If they are looking for an agency that is capable of delivering campaigns that really are emotional then they definitely should approach us. We certainly want to grow and we want to find clients and partners who have the same view on creativity and strategy.

Jens> Also, it's all about people. We have this thing in Germany where ad agencies are a service. If you say 'do so' then we do so. This is not what we're planning. It needs to be eye-level. It needs to be great people in the room that want to walk into the same direction and want to do great stuff.

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adam&eveDDB, Tue, 24 May 2022 13:51:20 GMT