Drugi jezik na kojem je dostupan ovaj članak: Bosnian
By: Ekrem Dupanović
Ladeja Godina Košir, MSc is the Managing Director of Giacomelli Media, based in Ljubljana. Trying to answer all our questions while still maintaining the distinctive creative flair of the profession she unconditionally belongs to, instead of traditional responses Ladeja offered us nine creative images, which we are presenting to you in their original form, with minimal linguistic alterations. Here’s what answers to our questions look like when they go through Ladeja’s creative workshop.
FIRST IMAGE: FLOWER CHILD
What happened to women after the 1960s and 70s, when they experienced the hippie revolution, went to parties on an equal footing with their male counterparts and chanted “sex, drugs and rock’n’roll”? From the standpoint of a person born in 1968, I can only take a guess at the changes that followed. Or should I try to embellish those guesses with my nicest memories? Mom was then a model and a big movie star in the Yugoslav space. Of course, she also appeared in “commercials”. My father stood behind the camera and with it sometimes captured movie images, and at other times advertising images. And I, the fruit of their romantic love, moved together with them from one scene of events to another. Together with my father I observed the emergence of ideas for ads, the drawing of story boards while cooking pasta or barbecuing fish on the grill in the garden with friends, the search for suitable locations, actors, shooting, mounting. Indeed it was pretty much a male company that composed the then Delo Stik, and later Studio Marketing. Women were invisible, somewhere in the background, never in the foreground. Jobs were organized among men, they realized them, and all the glory belonged to them. Altogether it was closer to a children’s game than real work. Even when playing “cowboys and Indians”, women aren’t required. Relations were changing. Competition emerged, the need for more professionalism, for more transparent operations, coordination, supervision, guidance… “Cowboys and Indians” were in need of help from the busy bees who made sure that they could continue to play. The bees initially assumed the role of secretaries, then researchers, then slowly became assistants and media planners, project leaders, and then, look, one day they became creatives. They had entered the world previously reserved for men. From my childlike perspective, that was the way the story was woven together, and when I stepped into the agency waters in the nineties as a copywriter, being a woman was no longer so abnormal. And when women were enabled to step out on the stage, we knew how to stand fast, how to strengthen and build upon our roles. The industry thus gradually and quietly changed, and so did the rules of the game, and gender ceased to be a determinant of success.
SECOND IMAGE: ANIMA IN ANIMUS
I believe there are traits that are more feminine, and those that are more masculine, but that doesn’t mean that people automatically act on the principle of their gender. I know women who act like men, and men completely governed by the feminine principle. And if we talk about the domination of women, the question is whether that dominance is reached when we are in leadership positions or perhaps before, when from less prominent positions we give decisive contributions to the activities of our organization. Advertising was an area ruled by egos. First and foremost male egos, and then female. Without a strong ego, the desire for self-affirmation and self-assertion, there was no recognition, no key to the success of a breakthrough in advertising. That’s why, in my opinion, it was symbolic of the male principle of action. It was not until the last ten, fifteen years ago – when advertising became no longer just advertising but much more the communication business – that female characteristics started gaining in importance. The creator of an idea is no longer in the center, but its user, the recipient is central. The vocabulary is changing: we co-create, collaborate, participate in decision-making, social networks suggest even more transparent action, involvement of the public, flexibility … Who, if not a woman, who is accustomed to putting herself in the background, will support an idea that is better, but not necessarily hers. Who else will mediate between strong egos fighting for supremacy, who else will patiently reconcile irritated spirits when minutes before a presentation the computer breaks, who else will calmly improvise when the president of the supervisory board makes an unannounced appearance at the meeting, who else will order a cake for a customer who is angry with the designers, who will wish a happy birthday to the doorman and be on time for the parents’ conference for her youngest child, and still shine at the evening reception for clients… and repeat this day in and day out. And in all this, find motivation? Precisely because life is becoming increasingly complex and unpredictable at the same time. Because there is neither time nor space for self-aggrandizement. Because there is more and more work, and less and less money. That is why the female principle is prevailing. Because it is focused on the preservation of the species, on survival. The answer is in nature itself. It’s in women, and at the same time we do need, and appreciate real men. It wouldn’t work without the balance.
THIRD IMAGE: MINDLESS INFATUATION
I didn’t go into advertising, I was born into advertising. As I said – I used to live and breathe that creative enthusiasm with my father and I witnessed the emergence of ad campaigns from an early age. It was a child’s infatuation with fairy tales that were brought to life before my own eyes. Ideas that sparkled and were traced in the form of a story board in front of my young eyes, which after a few weeks would be brought to life on the TV screen. Before bedtime, it was more precious to me to spend my time waiting for ads and singing jingles than to watch cartoons. Zastava 101, Dan na dan shampoos, Thomy mayonnaise, Toper, Canada Dry, Radenska, were just some of the brands that won their space forever in my child’s brain. As a high school student I did everything possible so that I could live a more independent life, earning my first wages. I used to tutor foreign languages, I was a model, a hostess in Cankarjev Dom; as the class director I organized plays that we performed for New Year’s (and earned pocket money). But through all that, I knew I wanted to work in advertising. The choice of subjects was a challenge. I didn’t fulfill the expectations of my class teacher and study directing, because my father taught it. I also rejected the logical choice of communication science because my mother taught that. While growing up parents are to be symbolically killed. How then to get to the desired job in advertising? Through studying marketing, a department that only existed in the Faculty of Economics, and only from the third year of studies. Ugh, what a test that was for my creative soul – to study economics. My parents just smiled, and after only the first few months I already just wanted everything to pass as quickly as possible. I passed the exams using the line of least resistance and after the first two years, which then meant a higher level of education, I tried to enroll at the Academy of Fine Arts, Department of Visual Communication, in order to get in touch with creativity again as soon as possible. But it wasn’t meant to be. After successfully passing the entrance exam in drawing, I failed the personal interview, with the argument that I shouldn’t take a place from students who have no other education, as I had already completed a higher level at the Faculty of Economics. My stubbornness prevailed and I bit into the remaining two years – by now seasoned with marketing – and immediately applied for a position at Studio Marketing. Jernej Repovš judged that I was able to swim independently in the advertising waters and the position of copywriter was mine. Woo-hoo! That was a really happy day for me.
PRECISELY: Precisely because life is becoming increasingly complex and unpredictable at the same time. Because there is neither time nor space for self-aggrandizement. Because there is more and more work, and less and less money. That is why the female principle is prevailing. Because it is focused on the preservation of the species, on survival. The answer is in nature itself. It’s in women, but at the same time we do need, and value real men. It wouldn’t work without the balance.
FOURTH IMAGE: PINBALL BALL
My first jobs were the result of an intuitive choice, and leaving them was the result of a spirit eager for new challenges. Neither my arrivals nor departures were part of a carefully planned career. I feel like a ball in a pinball machine that constantly touches new areas, wins new bonuses, loses points gained, ventures into undiscovered areas, bangs into other balls in the system, not knowing what the final result will be. Each new game brings new experiences.
A chronological overview: copywriter at Studio Marketing, which at the time of our collaboration joined the JWT network, which for me was the first contact with a global corporation and the first opportunity for serious work and knowledge-sharing with foreigners. In the first year of my creative work came the first awards at festivals. After six years, and two children produced in the meantime, comes the trip to my own company Rea Communications Agency Ltd. and cooperation with all the major Slovenian agencies in the field of creating communication strategies.
Close cooperation with the fast growing Studio Moderna. Then there was Imelda – I was an executive creative director at the time when Imelda was expanding throughout the area of Yugoslavia and established a partnership with the Ogilvy&Mather network. Again there were more international winds, the establishment of new connections, transfer of knowledge and practice with colleagues, creating new communication models. In the meantime there was my master’s thesis entitled “The story of a brand and its impact on the identity of an individual”. Numerous local and international awards for creative achievements, Participation on juries, programming tips.
After more than three years I again jumped on my own entrepreneurial path. Translation of communication strategies into business strategies, advising on the establishment and development of brands. The birth of my third cub. The establishment and management of the Institute for Business Growth and Creativity, receiving two silver awards from the Chamber of Commerce for innovative business models. Co-founding the movement Innovative Communication and Networking on a Global Scale – Ground Breaking Ideas for Interdisciplinary Connection and Project Cooperation. Collaboration develops with the newly established Gorenje Design Studio (GDS) in the field of consulting on market development. Habilitated lecturer in higher education, board member of the Slovenian Marketing Association, a member of the Manager Association, Am Cham …
Then reversal and entry into a bigger business system. True, a media one – the newspaper Delo. First as Marketing Director, and after two years as Director of Sales of Advertising Space. Strengthening the role of marketing in a media house, setting medium-term strategy, digitalization and introduction of a new billing plan, the transformation of the print editions into brands, the marketing of complete solutions, not just advertising centimeters, strengthening the company Delo in Slovenia … Inclusion in the finals for Marketing Director of 2012. Cut. Change of management in Delo. I submitted my CEO candidacy and gave a presentation to the Supervisory Board. Then the time comes to re-spin the ball in a pinball machine.
Today, I’m director and partner of the consulting company Giacomelli Media. We are working on some very interesting and useful projects for the development of the media industry and start-up community. The job is very creative, exciting and dynamic.
FIFTH IMAGE: YOU ONLY GET ONE FIRST TIME
“Sexiest juice in the world” was the motto of my first ad campaign for Fructal peach juice. The first project, the first independent work, the first dealings with the client and the audience, the first excitement of a festival, the first award for creative achievement in the Slovenian Advertising Festival, the first round of applause on the open stage. Everything was happening as if in some kitsch film. But I don’t have any real relationship to the past. I understand it as a vortex in which I used to swim, in which I quenched my thirst, tempted myself and matured. I have almost no archived work, my CV is riddled with holes, scattered references. My favorite time is the present and I thoroughly enjoy it. I enjoy creating, drawing up what is familiar in yet unexplored ways. I enjoy connecting knowledge, people and ideas. I receive light and learn how to dispel darkness. My favorite part of life is people with sharp minds and an open heart. And my three children, the best practice guides for women. If life was as a project, then that for me would be my favorite life-long project.
SIXTH IMAGE: EVERYTHING CHANGES
Today I find it easier to talk about the role of marketing, than about the role of advertising alone. It’s about the understanding of the role of marketing in the wider society. If I start with Slovenia, I can say that we are faced with two problems. First, the marketing competence of companies is closely linked to how we manage relationships in society. And second, in Slovenian companies marketing is usually focused on the techniques and tactics of communication. There is a lack of the skills and knowledge for more comprehensive management of market relations. The relationships between people and businesses are often poor because there is still too much socialism around us and too little courage for the acceptance of something different, more penetrating. In the conditions of the market economy and its various possibilities, the focus of the relationship moves from restrictions, rules and even prohibitions towards inclusion and emphasizing exchange on the basis of comparative advantages. The combination of well-arranged ownership structures, capable management, internal resources and competent external partners (from advisers to agencies) can yield results. A partial solution to the problems in the form of catchy advertising messages or the activation of social networks is by no means enough today.
SEVENTH IMAGE: A NEW REALITY
Do social media spread democracy or narrow it? Both of these extreme standpoints regarding their role would be too narrow. There is no doubt that social media have significantly reached into communication patterns, changing them. They have opened the space for everyone’s greater involvement, for greater transparency, which in itself doesn’t mean that they are used only for the benefit of democracy, or that they are not misused in the interests of the largest and the most powerful. They have reached into the media province and have shaken it dramatically. Digitalization, globalization, social networks – the world has shrunk; parallel worlds are emerging, public space mocks privacy. To ask about their role in advertising is too narrow. You need to study their role in the daily life of us earthlings.
Changed habits, different communication practices, new means of selection and decision-making, the establishment of new value systems. The media as such are losing value and are seeking a formula to survive. Brands cannot afford not to communicate. Again, one of the challenges – how can a brand live its media story and how can each member of the media become a brand that will remain in the pile of choices made by the user, the reader. Social media have empowered the individual, they have given them the ability to express themselves, to reveal themselves, and at the same time they have pulled them into a balloon within which, at first glance, the whole world seems to be yours, but in fact yours is only the small part that was formed by your choices, your communication code, in which the intelligence of a social network has recognized, and within which it has drawn for you, the borders of your new, virtual playground.
EIGHT IMAGE: THE FUTURE BELONGS TO THE BRAVE
I would place the future of advertising in the bigger picture of the future of marketing. If I start with Slovenia, I see it closely related to how the state and its business environment will succeed in choosing and valuing their role and their strengths in global marketing relationships. The greatest test of whether we will have great companies and brands in the Slovenian environment is how we position ourselves globally. The world is connected, Slovenia is small, and regardless of its natural characteristics it has a great advantage because it can be an excellent testing ground for assessing new concepts for the implementation of the marketing strategies of the future. If and when we learn how to live relationships less burdened by the past, and less seasoned with political orientation, through more effective encouragement of innovation, through rewarding performance, by linking best practices and cooperation, by marketing ideas themselves, we will be able to turn the socio-economic flow towards survival and not disintegration. And if I continue with the global picture, there as well it’s about understanding interdependence, interconnection and co-creation. It’s about a new paradigm that will have to replace the surviving concepts if we want to save the planet and to live on it well. Through the courage to abandon the old and to enter the unexplored, untested, different, long-term, not short-term oriented, we can enable the present to follow the future.
NINTH IMAGE: A BREATH OF INSPIRATION
I have time. I have 24 hours each day. With gratitude and a sense of responsibility to life, every morning and every evening I bow to this gift. I therefore like to live in a way where I see all time as time for inhalation and inspiration. I don’t separate working from private hours, I don’t draw boundaries between useful and useless work. I try to learn something from everything, to recognize a lesson in anything, to recognize a teacher in everyone. I am a person who has good and bad moments. I am a person who can be inspired by or drowned in my relentless optimism and passion for the lives of the people around me. I am a woman and a mother. Every day I jump into various roles and upgrade my identity in my life cycles. I happily submerge myself into the identity of people dear to me, into film stories, between the pages of books and magazines. I taste the beverages and food of creators and lose myself in the galleries of contemporary art. And, if I can sail onto the open sea with a sailboat, and watch the waves as they embrace the sun at the horizon of the sunset, my life is truly complete.