Drugi jezik na kojem je dostupan ovaj članak: Bosnian
By: Asja Dupanovic
Milena Maksić and Nemanja Obradović are young talents of Belgrade’s Ovation BBDO. Both with years of experience in the creative industry, the two are yet another ideal combination of completely different characters, the formula on which the strength of this agency is based. As the director of Ovation BBDO’s digital department, Milena coordinates all of the agency’s digital projects, whilst Nemanja slowly takes on one of the key roles in the creative team. Milena’s professional career is unusual – after many years on the client side, she joined an agency. Nemanja, on the other hand, was active in a community named Luft and took part in the Cannes Lions festival in 2017 as it’s representative.
MM: What attracted you to start working in the advertising industry?
Milena Maksić: The belief that the glitter shines brighter on the other side. I spent several years in companies before I wished to be part of that world. I believed that for my professional orientation towards digital, advertising was the most natural environment. Previous cooperation with this exact agency and the people working in it, encouraged me additionally. And here I am, almost six years now.
Nemanja Obradović: The fact that I never saw it for an advertising industry. I never sat down and thought “Oh, how much I would like to work in the advertising industry.” One should not think much of the industry as such. I came, I tried, I liked it, I stayed.
MM: In Serbia’s agency of the year, you are considered to be the young leaders of the industry. How does one achieve that and how does it make you feel?
Milena Maksić: I am very flattered, it makes me look younger. ;) The feeling is great. It is a confirmation that, what you believe in, truly is finding its way to success. Everything that we as an agency have achieved, is the result of serious, continuous work and passionate dedication. Happiness, pride and the responsibility towards the people in the team and our clients, that is the combination of feelings which I am experiencing.
Nemanja Obradović: I’m glad that the summit of young leaders will be richer for two such geniuses 😊. Joke aside, it’s nice when people recognize in you that something which you can never tell yourself. The secret of leadership is not giving others the feeling that they are being led, shhhhhh. As for the rest: “Where were you when I was nobody?”
MM: What are the talents and skills most helpful to you in successfully handling all of the challenges of this world of creative communication?
Milena Maksić: In this business, besides creativity and the ability to work in a team, key are one’s communication skills. They get improved by the day. The ability to listen to and understand the others, to be understood and trusted by others. In order to approach the client’s problem in the right way, it is necessary to truly grasp the needs of everyone involved in the process, to recognize and then encourage, articulate and present the solution. If you ask Nemanja, persistence and complexity, or in other words, a nerdy thoroughness and an obsessive-compulsive consistency, would have to be added to this list.
Nemanja Obradović: You come into an agency with one talent, and then, with time, discover new talents which you possess. This is the result of simply working, many unsuccessful visuals and ideas stand behind it. I like to compare everything with sports so, for me, the best players are those who are constantly good, from one game to the next, yet they still surprise you with their moves, matches… I have developed that kind of consistency. People know what they can expect from me but I still always surprise them. For now, this works, we’ll see how it will be in the future.
MM: What kind of projects do you like to work on the most?
Milena Maksić: Projects which essentially, strategically and creatively help the client’s business. We are currently working on a whole set of creative initiatives of a client to whom we are helping set up an improved business model. I like the fact that I see a new dimension of enthusiasm in the team.
Nemanja Obradović: On the most demanding ones (every project with Milena that is).
I like it when nothing works, when the ideas are hard to come to, when the solutions are being returned, when there is conflict, disagreement, different views, when everyone comes with their own solution to the problem because everyone in the team cares and we will not be satisfied with something average. Milena often tells me something a solution terrible. As much as it irritates me in that moment, I know that she will get the best one in the world from me the next time around (she leads me well). It’s easy to work when everything goes smoothly. I would like to highlight a project for our client Galenika. It is an example of a perfect harmony in copywriting and design sense.
MM: With the advent of smartphones, the attention span of an average person decreased to just a few seconds. How do we make the most of this short period of time?
Milena Maksić: This is the key issue for all of us who create, consume, and skip content. In just a few seconds, you need to pack a specific, relevant message, an idea, a face or a visual effect which will surprise, make one laugh, or shock one, in order to spark interest in seeing the ad to the end and, even better, remembering it. The trick is not to forget the brand in that matrix, because without it, everything is futile, you missed the opportunity. There is no ideal recipe, even when all of the ingredients are known to you.
Nemanja Obradović: Show the brand name or the logo, immediately! :) The goal should not be those five, six seconds, the goal is to create content someone wishes to watch, read, share. We are all on our phones, all the time, no one knows this better than ourselves. Begin with yourself – who do we follow, who do we watch, what interests us, this is how we should approach the target group we are addressing – with honesty, without much twisting and cliché. The problem is that we often create content we ourselves would not like.
MM: How does one come up with good ideas?
Milena Maksić: I believe that good ideas are created as a result of a partnership between agencies and clients. Success overnight is random and of short breath. Systematic work and the development of trust form the basis of good cooperation. Only then do you not see a bold idea as a risk but as a chance.
Nemanja Obradović: Slowly, gradually and fundamentally. Crazy, brave ideas require crazy and brave brands, there were not many, but it seems to me that this is changing. Time will show.
MM: What do you consider to be your most valuable lesson learned in these years of living the agency life?
Milena Maksić: Working with people is something you learn how to do, every day. It is not the best ideas or executions that win, it is the best communicators, capable of changing and developing themselves on the go.
Nemanja Obradović: The lessons are many. Every day at least one new. I would single out – working with people, patience and working under pressure.
MM: What do you advise your peers to do – join you in this industry or try to find a better job?
Milena Maksić: Not to be too easy on themselves. To work hard and a lot.
Nemanja Obradović: Among graphic designers there is a lot of prejudice about working in an agency. I would tell them that it is not for everyone.
MM: What do you visualize the future of advertising to be like?
Milena Maksić: As a permanently changing category but, at the end of the day, still the communication people create for other people, helped greatly by technology.
Nemanja Obradović: It can develop in a hundred different directions but, as I have already said, there is no need to think much about the industry, and especially about something you can’t have much influence upon. First of all, let us overcome the current form of advertising, which changes day by day, whilst we still shoot TV ads. Patience, patience…
MM: How much free time do you have and how do you prefer to be spending it?
Nemanja Obradović: I live that crazy ad man’s life. Events, promotions, VIP lounges… (laughs).
Milena Maksić: You forgot the glitter!