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The Right Amount of Freedom and Opportunity

The Right Amount of Freedom and Opportunity

Natasha Smith

Natasha Smith

July 31, 2018

Isn’t that what everyone wants in their careers?

"I fell in love with the idea of becoming a copywriter."

Only if you listen, will you then be heard,” says Nicolas Becker, Executive Creative Director at Havas Munich. Becker sits down to talk all things advertising, the ins and outs of his job, and some solid life advice.

How’d you get your start in advertising?

The father of a school friend of mine was a creative director at TBWA. Though I had no clue what that was, it sounded fascinating and kind of glamorous. Since I had no idea what to do after school, I asked him if I could do an internship during summer vacation. When I learned there were people who were paid for writing funny headlines and crazy film scripts, I fell in love with the idea of becoming a copywriter.

If you hadn’t become an adman, what would you be doing now?

I’m not sure if I would have passed the examination, but for many years I had the idea of becoming a doctor. I’ve heard successful people say that everyone has a first and second career—times when we’re young and in a constant state of discovering—and times when we’ve learned enough to know what we really want.

Are you in your first or second career?

Maybe in between?

Why Havas?

In Germany, it’s an almost unwritten, upcoming brand where people who love to leave their mark can actually do so. For me, it’s just the right combination of freedom and opportunity.

"Use your mind. Stay human."

How does a city like Munich inspire you and your team?

Of course, we have wonderful museums, great theaters, beautiful landscapes, a lot of sporting activities to do—but to be honest, when you live in a saturated-rich place like Munich, it’s important to leave the city now and then to stay in touch with the outside world.

What’s creativity?

Combining things that have never been combined before.

What’s the best thing about being an executive creative director?

Since I am a big soccer fan, I like to compare this job with being a soccer coach: you bring talented individuals together and make them play and work as a team.

The biggest challenge?

Making everyone happy.

What’s something you wish advertisers would never do again?

To work for industries that harm people’s health and destroy our environment. I know it’s an illusion, but imagine what would happen if we all would stop working for cigarettes, weapons, the oil industry, companies like Monsanto, and food brands that fill people with way too much sugar.

Something about advertising that you hope never changes?

That it brings wonderful, open-minded people together to create (at least, sometimes) meaningful ideas.  

Your biggest lesson in life, so far?

Only if you listen, will you then be heard.

Your best advice for young people hoping to get into the ad business?

Use your mind. Stay human. Or as we Germans say, “Höre auf deinen gesunden Menschenverstand.”

"I fell in love with the idea of becoming a copywriter."

Only if you listen, will you then be heard,” says Nicolas Becker, Executive Creative Director at Havas Munich. Becker sits down to talk all things advertising, the ins and outs of his job, and some solid life advice.

How’d you get your start in advertising?

The father of a school friend of mine was a creative director at TBWA. Though I had no clue what that was, it sounded fascinating and kind of glamorous. Since I had no idea what to do after school, I asked him if I could do an internship during summer vacation. When I learned there were people who were paid for writing funny headlines and crazy film scripts, I fell in love with the idea of becoming a copywriter.

If you hadn’t become an adman, what would you be doing now?

I’m not sure if I would have passed the examination, but for many years I had the idea of becoming a doctor. I’ve heard successful people say that everyone has a first and second career—times when we’re young and in a constant state of discovering—and times when we’ve learned enough to know what we really want.

Are you in your first or second career?

Maybe in between?

Why Havas?

In Germany, it’s an almost unwritten, upcoming brand where people who love to leave their mark can actually do so. For me, it’s just the right combination of freedom and opportunity.

"Use your mind. Stay human."

How does a city like Munich inspire you and your team?

Of course, we have wonderful museums, great theaters, beautiful landscapes, a lot of sporting activities to do—but to be honest, when you live in a saturated-rich place like Munich, it’s important to leave the city now and then to stay in touch with the outside world.

What’s creativity?

Combining things that have never been combined before.

What’s the best thing about being an executive creative director?

Since I am a big soccer fan, I like to compare this job with being a soccer coach: you bring talented individuals together and make them play and work as a team.

The biggest challenge?

Making everyone happy.

What’s something you wish advertisers would never do again?

To work for industries that harm people’s health and destroy our environment. I know it’s an illusion, but imagine what would happen if we all would stop working for cigarettes, weapons, the oil industry, companies like Monsanto, and food brands that fill people with way too much sugar.

Something about advertising that you hope never changes?

That it brings wonderful, open-minded people together to create (at least, sometimes) meaningful ideas.  

Your biggest lesson in life, so far?

Only if you listen, will you then be heard.

Your best advice for young people hoping to get into the ad business?

Use your mind. Stay human. Or as we Germans say, “Höre auf deinen gesunden Menschenverstand.”

Natasha Smith is the strategic communications manager for Havas Group. She happily represents 404 in the 212.

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