Drugi jezik na kojem je dostupan ovaj članak: Bosnian
By: Ekrem Dupanović
Katarina Keti Zaharijev (27) is a graphic designer at Leo Burnett Belgrade Publicis One. She finished elementary and master studies at the Faculty of Architecture in Belgrade. She entered the world of advertising a year and a half ago. This year, together with Milica Radović, she won the Young Lions Serbia competition in the print category, thus securing her participation in the Cannes Lions Festival. When she came to Leo Burnett a year and a half ago, she knew nothing about advertising, and in such a short time she reached Canes! This best speaks of her talent and her ability to quickly understand things and turn them into excellent creative solutions.
In addition to working in the agency, she deals with interior design and furniture restoration.
MEDIA MARKETING: I know many excellent graphic designers in the region who actually graduated architecture. What brought you to an advertising agency?
Katarina Keti Zaharijev: Architecture studies give you the opportunity to deal with a wide range of occupations afterwards. Design is one of them. At the faculty, I was more interested in fine arts and less in technical subjects. After completing my studies, I wanted to try something completely new, and advertising popped up as an opportunity. It’s a job that is very dynamic and unpredictable, where everyday creative challenges await you, and all this attracte4d me to it.
MEDIA MARKETING: You are at Leo Burnett by coincidence, or by choice?
Katarina Keti Zaharijev: It all seemed as a string of coincidences. Advertising showed itself as an option for a creative career. I did some research and Leo Burnett seemed as an interesting choice.
MEDIA MARKETING: You’ve been in the agency business for year and a half. It’s a short time to talk about some big results, and yet that’s exactly something you can talk about. You won in the Young Lions Serbia competition and went to Cannes. How did you pull that off?
Katarina Keti Zaharijev: That’s right. To win the Young Cannes Lions competition and go to the biggest festival in your industry is something you don’t expect so early in your career. It was the first time for me to take part in this kind of competition. The task itself was inspiring and we came to the idea quickly. It was fun to work with Milica. We gave our best and it turned out that we did it well. We are extremely pleased with our work.
MEDIA MARKETING: Cannes must have been a great experience. What impressed you the most at the world’s largest festival of creativity in advertising?
Katarina Keti Zaharijev: The fantastic days in Cannes and one very important experience – it was definitely a wind in my sails. We had the opportunity to listen to lectures of top lecturers, and hear more knowledge than you can follow. We learned and collected inspiration to be even better in the job we do.
I would single out the Lions Innovation stage, that seems as a road to the future. It’s the part of the festival dedicated to researching technology in creativity. We saw how artificial intelligence develops, we played with robots. and had an unforgettable VR experience.
MEDIA MARKETING: Were there situations when you questioned whether this is the right profession for you?
Katarina Keti Zaharijev: I knew very little about advertising when I came to the agency. I had a great desire to learn something new, but I also had the fear of whether I chose the right path. And now – although some time has passed since – I still ask myself the same question from time to time.
MEDIA MARKETING: And was there a project where you told yourself: “Yes, this is it, I was born for this!”
Katarina Keti Zaharijev: The most important success is when you prove to yourself that you did something – when you actually do it. This success for me was the victory at the Young Lions Serbia competition, as a confirmation of how much we know and what we can do. After that I began to think about my possible future in the communications industry and make plans.
MEDIA MARKETING: What should young leaders learn and apply from their older colleagues?
Katarina Keti Zaharijev: That you should be patient, and that there’s always a solution. They should learn how to recognize which idea has potential, and to believe in their idea.
MEDIA MARKETING: And what should they definitely discard from that legacy?
Katarina Keti Zaharijev: Playing it safe.
MEDIA MARKETING: When we talk about crazy and bold ideas, there’s a general opinion that the communications industry is gripped with fear. Agencies are afraid of losing a client, clients are afraid of losing business. How to overcome this fear, and how much can you, young people, contribute to overcome this situation?
Katarina Keti Zaharijev: It is necessary to get rid of fears. I will quote a colleague of mine: “No risk, no champagne.”
Young people should do their best to keep the spirit and energy they have when they come to the agency. That state when there are no fears and when they are still not “shaped to the client’s measures”. In this way, they can also affect senior creatives who should be more flexible and open to new forms. With common energy we can influence the client and get out of the given frames, and come up with a good idea that really conveys a message.
MEDIA MARKETING: You still haven’t completely abandoned architecture. You deal with interior and furniture design. Is it something you do in free time, and how well is it going?
Katarina Keti Zaharijev: If the day lasted for 30 hours I could achieve everything.
I use every moment of free time to devote myself to my other interests and I enjoy it. Architecture is my “first love” and I still have not wiped it from my list of interests. Given the volume of work I have, it seems that I’m managing it and I’m satisfied.
I try to remain in the creative industries – be it architecture, graphic design or interior design – it’s all the same for me, only important thing is that it’s fun.
MEDIA MARKETING: Do you even have free time, and if you do, how do you spend it?
Katarina Keti Zaharijev: I have very little free time, but at the moment I wouldn’t change anything. The constant desire to acquire knowledge is my main driver. In some distant future I’ll probably have to decide what I want to be when I grow up, and then I’ll look forward to free time.