Interview with Jonas Keller

03 July 2014

Creative Director

Jung von Matt/Alster Hamburg, Germany

After his studies in Communication Design in Freiburg, he started his first job in Advertising in 1998 at Scholz & Friends Hamburg. In 2001 he moved to Leagas Delaney Hamburg for 4 years and worked for various clients including Adidas, Stern Magazine and Skoda. He's been at Jung von Matt since 2005 and has created campaigns for brands such as Bosch, Saturn, Ferrero, Electronic Arts and Mercedes-Benz to name but a few. For the last 5 years he has worked exclusively for Mercedes-Benz first as a Senior Art Director then as a Creative Director. During his career, Jonas has won many national and international awards. Last year his work for Mercedes-Benz „The invisible drive“ was one of the most awarded ideas in 2012: including two Grand Prix one at Cannes and one at the Eurobest Award as well as several Gold, Silver and Bronze Awards. Jonas believes in great ideas and his beautiful family.

What is the most attractive in the advertising industry? Were expectations fulfilled?

I thinkt that the single most attractive thing about the industry is ,that you get paid for having ideas. Nurturing your mind with abstract thoughts and wandering through the realms of your imagination. Can it get any better than that?

Which country has the most perspective for developing the advertising industry nowadays? In which country will industry develop mostly in the future?

I can not conceive a genuine answer for this question as there are so many great agencies in even greater countries. They all are quit brilliant in there own territories. Sweden for instance has always been on the forefront of digital marketing. America is outstanding in storytelling. And the designs of Brazil and Asia still manage to surprise. So no, I can not name just one country.

You have worked in different agencies in different countries, what are the main differences between people and atmosphere?

I have worked for three different agencies in Germany: Scholz & Friends, Leagas Delaney and Jung von Matt. And in all of these agencies I have met very interesting and nice people. Though I think that the biggest difference is often the structure and the philosophy of the agency. The way ideas are conceived and executed. For instance Jung von Matt, the agency I am currently working for. This is an agency with a strong DNA. A DNA, that has been defined by the founder Jean-Remy and that is injected into every new employee. We have a mantra that says: „We stay unsatisfied“. What may seem a little arrogant is actually the key to perfection. Because only when you push yourself and wonder: „Is this really the best I can come up with“ you will achieve something great.

If you have an opportunity to work in absolutely another sphere what would it be?

Maybe Music? A rockstar would be nice! Or an Architect? Or an Artist? Or?

Which person in the sphere of advertising inspires you? Why?

The people around me: collegues, partners and bosses inspire me the most. Because great ideas are in most cases a team effort and therefore you need human interaction. But I also find inspiration through many other outlets like music, art, films, sports and anything else that is happening around me.

How does it look like an ideal ad agency/advertiser?

The perfect adman needs a cool Baseball cap, a pair of sunglasses and some good ideas.

May digital ads completely displace print ads?

Well, I think print ads will be some day completely digital. Digital print ads.

Name five things without which you cannot live.

Family, friends, work, music and my iPhone.

The Slogan of Red Apple festival is “Exchange ideas, change the world!” What are changes for you (in general)? Do people need them and why?

Steve Jobs once said that death is life’s single best invention, because it makes room for the new. Now, I don’t want to die just yet, but I believe that you have to kill your darlings: old ideas you cling to, just because you think they are great. We need to change, we need to evolve. We as humans crave for the new. So, free your mind of everything you know and start from scratch. And keep Einstein’s quote in mind:

"The future interests me far more than the past, as I intend living in it."