Mats Utberg [matsutberg]
How and why did you begin to be creative?
I was an account director, at the time I thought account directors didn't add any value (I was wrong, the good ones do).
Always liked communication and telling stories, so I switched to Copywriter over night. A couple of years later I was crowned Copywriter of the Year.
Your mind is your work tool. How do you take care of it?
Creative People constantly deal with output. We ask our brains to come up with ideas 24/7. And to get great ideas, you must supply input. So relax with family and friends, watch a movie, take a break, walk the dog, run, talk to your mother, read a book, cook food, do yoga, read magazines, travel etc.
If you don't feed your brain different inputs, you eventually run out of output. So that's how you should take care of your brain: relax and feed it with useful and useless impressions.
How do you avoid repeating yourself, or falling into formula? How do you stay fresh?
Don't get stuck on Award shows. Get inspired and "steal" from art, popular culture, music, things that happening around us.
Try to find new ways of expressing eternal human insights: hate, love, hope, sex, vanity, greed, ambition, relations, wisdom, magic, heroes in new fresh ways will alway grab attention. As long as you keep it both interesting and relevant (to the brand that pays your salary that is).
Do you have a ritual like retiring to a lonely place from time to time to cleanse your mind?
Yes. My garden or the Sea. Or just my head phones with nice music.
What cultural sources do you draw from the most?
Art, music, TV, film, sports, culture, politics, news. Things that happen around us, subjects people can relate to.
Who have your teachers been?
My personal mentors: Angela Utberg, K-G Gyllensvärd, Clas Collin, Sven-Olof Bodenfors, Staffan Forsman, Björn Engström, Filip Nilsson.
Others: Bill Bernbach, David Ogilvy, Socrates, David Abbott, Joseph Heller, Schopenhauer, John Hegarty, Michael Porter, Lee Clow, Alex Bogusky, Jeff Goodby, Rich Silverstein, Al Ries, Jack Trout, Michael Conrad etc.
When you accept a job, how much value do you place on each of the following? Money, creative liberty, visibility, and to work with the best.
1. Work with the best 2. Creative liberty 3. Visibility 4. Money
If you do great stuff with great people and it gets exposure (great stuff will), clients will come back to you again and again. At the same time you will attract other like minded clients and earn money. Wont happen the other way around.
"To give birth to ideas." Is this only an expression, or are there really parallels between giving birth and creativity?
I haven't given birth to a child. Still I'll say: Yes. You plant a seed by taking in information about the problem/challenge and incubate. It takes time, can be painful and then BING! Suddenly you have that Eureka-moment. An Idea is born.
It is possible to fall in love with a bad idea simply because it is yours. How do you avoid this?
By showing it to others and asking them to tell you what the weakest thing is about your idea. And by always making sure you come up with more than one idea, by having discipline and integrity and a honest desire to achieve great things.
Must someone be the leader or boss in order for a creative team to function well?
Yes, a leader or coach, NOT a boss. That the Creative leader must be able to do the work, some of the best work, to keep his/her position as a true leader, not only a title.
What criteria do you use when selecting someone to be a part of your creative team?
Talent is most important, good energy (nice person)
We can't teach talent. You either have it, or you don't. So it's the most important. But I don't hire talented people who "steals" energy.
The armchair psychologist: Is creativity an act of rebellion for you?
Communication is about getting attention, otherwise you will not be effective. And to get attention, you either have to do something that hasn't been done before (in a sense rebellious) or reinforce something, an eternal truth.
What is the best advertisement you've seen recently?
The viral Piano Stairs Fun Theory by Volkswagen, All media Love Distance by Naoki Ito for japanese condoms. Don't tell Ashton by the students at Berghs School of Communication, where I am a proud teacher.
Do you work well under pressure?
Yes, I get calm, cool and collected. But at the same time it is frustrating before you get the "big idea".
How is an idea sold?
1) By being a great idea (solving the problem in an fresh way). 2) By conviction – that the presenter is convinced that it is great.
Ideas can come simultaneously to different people in different places with no connection to one another. How do you explain this phenomenon?
By what I talked about before. Input and output. take the credit crunch. It happened all over the World at basically the same time. This condition nurtured the same state of mind and thereby the possibility of the same kind of ideas.
Someone said, there are only seven unique ideas, the rest is combination. Take films or plays: Romeo & Juliette, this is basically the same as West Side Story, but does that make West Side Story bad? Not in my book.
Please list some brand names or clients that you have worked for.
Apple, Carlsberg, Bang & Olufsen, IKEA, Volvo Cars, Arla Foods, The Post Office, Comviq/Tele2, Salvation Army etc
What do your clients value more, strategy, creativity, design, or return of investment?
They want ROI, but they also know that good effects or ROI comes from high quality strategy, creativity and design.
The word 'creativity' is much-used in advertising, yet most commercials are annoying, why is that?
Creativity is a buzz word. The answer is because most commercials are not creative. Why? Because some commercials don't need to be, you spend 10 million dollars and you get media space for 10 million dollars. And some don't dare to be.
But if you want to make a 10 million dollar budget look like 100 million, you need to be creative, fresh, interesting and relevant. This involves taking a risk on the client side (could be success or failure career wise) and on the agency side. The paradox is that most agencies are not and don't dare to be creative.
Can a bad advertising campaign sell well?
No. David Ogilvy once told a story about a beer brand that came to him. He found out that the beer sold better in the states where they didn't do advertising. So bad advertising can actually be more harmful than no advertising.
How do you see the transition between traditional advertising and online advertising?
Today everything is everything. In that sense it is purely academic to talk about traditional and online.
Digital is a part of the overall advertising toolbox beside print, tv and radio. The new thing is that online is able to accelerate word of mouth. The viewer becomes a form of media him- or herself.
Do advertising festivals help to improve the industry, or are they only ways for the elite to pay homage to themselves?
They help. In a way they are our industry's R & D. Clients also take great interest in creative work, because they know it is more effective. Proctor & Gamble visits Cannes Lions Awards, watch the work and go to the seminars.
People are vain, and ad people are no different. And what about the Academy Awards, Grammy's, Emmy's, The Nobel Prize, MTV Awards?
Vanity and the desire to confirm that you are great at what you are doing could be very practical for a client. If given the right brief, the creatives' desire will make them go that extra mile to create something really effective, something out of the ordinary. One study showed Prize winners are also between 20 to 4000 % more effective than normal advertising
Does the public buy the product or the product image?
I don't think you can seperate the two.
Well maybe like this: when the public buy garbage bags they buy the product, when they by a Ferrari they buy the image.
IMPACT! Is this the main scale for judging the work of an advertising professional?
In one sense IMPACT is everything and the rest is academic.
Because if no one notice what you are saying, it doesn't matter how well you are saying it.
On the other hand, impact calls for moral responsibility. Because when you have grabbed the attention, you'd better have something interesting and relevant to say.
Is it possible for someone in advertising to communicate well with people of other generations or cultures not their own?
If you ever been in love you can relate to lovers and so on. And if you are curious about the contemporary world you are able to connect with young or old people, no matter your own age.
Regarding other cultures, I think you have to use universal references like love, hate, family, mother-father-son-daughter etc. Things that everyone can relate to.
In advertising, what is most effective, frequency or surprise?
"Nobody counts the number of ads you run; they just remember the impression you make." Bill Bernbach.
Surprise if I have to choose.
If you constantly need to remind people about something they already know: frequency.
If you want to launch, relaunch and create attention around a brand or a message: surprise.
How do you explain the way in which some brands have been able to expand so widely and rapidly without advertising? Are the laws of marketing changing?
What brands have expanded without advertising? What is advertising? To me this is a case of definition. Take Spanish Fashion Retailer Zara: great brand, no "advertising". Well, to me their most powerful advertising is their stores. Expanding with top locations in big cities, the store is a media outlet, advertising that you can walk into.
The power of advertising is still there. That's why every Digital or PR agency tries to kill "traditional" advertising. The laws of marketing are not changing. We just have more tools and possibilities now.