Drugi jezik na kojem je dostupan ovaj članak: Bosnian
By: Ekrem Dupanović
Sonja Kalušević and Marko Marjanović are young talents from the Ovation BBDO advertising agency. This duo, completely opposite in nature and temperament, are an ideal example of the synergy of diversity that drives Ovation BBDO. It was obvious that young talents work better, adopt new knowledge and gain new experiences faster when they have the opportunity of working as a “pair” to correct, advise and inspire each other.
The conversation that follows clearly shows that Sonja and Marko really have fun while they work, and that they’ve turned their job into play. Maybe that’s why they’re doing so well.
MEDIA MARKETING: How did you get into advertising, was it because you love it, or because you had to do something?
Marko Marjanović: I got into advertising through digital, if we don’t count the time when I was a kid designing things in Paint and distributing leaflets for the family car-wash business. I loved to write and I always had a million projects I worked on. A friend of mine persuaded me to apply for my first job.
Sonja Kalušević: Advertising attracted me since my university years, back when I still didn’t know much about that industry, and it turned out that my feeling was right. The only thing that shook me a bit was the collaboration with Marko when he came.
MEDIA MARKETING: You got a job with Ovation BBDO by coincidence or on purpose?
Marko Marjanović: I came here on purpose, but those goals at the time were not mine, but the goals of our scouts (ie directors). However, after the first interview, and the question whether I would like to create integrated campaigns and participate in the creative work, and not just in the execution of brand communication, it was clear to me that our goals matched.
Sonja Kalušević: I came by a coincidence, while I was looking for my first job. Scouts took a risk by bringing me in. That’s why Ovation BBDO is especially important to me. Of course, I gained knowledge of the job, but its impact on my personal development is equally important. I’m especially glad that my first job was with Ovation BBDO. For someone who is just starting her career, the most important factor, besides practical knowledge, is building a good foundation– by thorough approach to work and relationships that you build with people.
MEDIA MARKETING: Work in creative agencies rests on the work in a multidisciplinary team, and Ovation BBDO pays special attention to nurturing team spirit among young people. They single out the two of you as a team to look up to. What does that mean? Does it mean that you are a team on your own, or that as a team you join other teams in implementation of campaigns?
Sonja Kalušević: We haven’t got strictly established teams. Teams are formed according to the needs of clients and projects. All the colleagues who can contribute at a certain point always join the team. This approach enables flexibility, which is crucial to our work.
Marko Marjanović: We’re a team because we understand each other. The truth is we don’t do all the projects together, and it’s almost never just the two of us working on some project. But we do make a sort of a foundation of the team. I would say we’re the backbone, and Sonja would say I shouldn’t talk nonsense. (laughs)
MEDIA MARKETING: You are also a team that does creative work. What are your individual specialties in the creative aspect?
Marko Marjanović: The narrow specialty that I’m working on every day is contemplating and creating concepts. The thing that others recognized, and later I also noticed in myself, is my ability to think broadly. I can fit and set things in the umbrella concepts, no matter how small they are. This is something I plan to develop further and is something I try to encourage in people around me.
Sonja Kalušević: Although – strictly speaking – Marko belongs to the creative sector, and I to the client service, there is no such division in our work. Marko sometimes even lets me give a creative idea! Joking aside, really the entire team works on project together, and ideas are expected from all team members. The fields that Marko is most interested in are digital and copywriting, and I’m interested in strategic planning, but I also love it when we jump into each other’s field. This exchange of knowledge and approaches has brought us a lot of benefits.
MEDIA MARKETING: A friend of mine has a saying: ‘when two people think the same, one of them is surplus’. How similar or different the two of you are, and how do you overcome those differences? Or are the differences that make you such a strong team?
Marko Marjanović: If you think the same as your friend, does that make you redundant as well? In some things we are similar, and in others different. Sonja is certainly more balanced than me. She is more organized and much better at handling me than I am at handling her. What suits me the most is that I can rely on her at any moment. Support and complementing each other is the key. I believe we understand each other easily, and that it doesn’t take much of explaining between the two of us. This atmosphere easily rubs off on all the others who are working on the project.
Sonja Kalušević: We’re like an old married couple – we know what the other thinks, but we always bicker and question each other. It is of great help in creative work when you have someone who will not be happy with the first idea, but has the will for some creative ‘torture’ which helps hone the idea, so it can mature and become something fresh and relevant for the client. I really appreciate Marko’s persistence to work on ideas and concepts.
MEDIA MARKETING: You are appreciated by colleagues in the agency and clients alike. How does that affect you? Does it motivate you, boosts your ego…?
Marko Marjanović: One of the reasons why I was attracted to this job is that it provides instant assessment. Every day is like a test, and you can see how the audience react to it very quickly through the work done. It makes me much more motivated, and I would be lying if I said that it doesn’t feed my ego. You’re as good as the last good solution you’ve made. You defend the points from past campaigns, and try to improve on them. It’s like tennis – just a bit different turf.
Sonja Kalušević: You shouldn’t praise Marko too much. Afterwards we can’t silence his ego for days. Respect from peers is a great help in work. You are always more open to suggestions from someone you respect. But that respect comes only from personal example you are prepared to make, and the joint everyday struggle. That’s why it is compulsory.
MEDIA MARKETING: What should young leaders learn from their older colleagues and apply in their work?
Marko Marjanović: To lead by example. Senior colleagues (older only in age, but not in spirit), the ones I learned the most from, are those who personally show how something is done. It’s easy to order someone to do something, but to lead by example and demonstration is a true skill. The devotion to the project must be felt by everyone involved.
Sonja Kalušević: That a good idea is always simple. It seems to me that there might have been more of those simple ideas in advertising in the past.
MEDIA MARKETING: And what should they drop?
Marko Marjanović: You should drop them home. Always be nice to your colleagues and drop them home if it’s on your way.
Sonja Kalušević: Reluctance to change.
MEDIA MARKETING: When we talk about crazy and bold ideas, there is a general opinion that the communications industry is gripped by fear. Agencies are afraid of losing clients, clients are afraid of losing business. How to overcome this fear, and how much can you, the young people, contribute to overcoming this situation?
Sonja Kalušević: A fair and close relationship between the client and the agency is the only way to make a creative step forward. This should be a relationship where both sides are accountable – agencies not to offer clients ideas that are just crazy and brave, but are in line with their brand, target group and business goals, and clients should see agencies as partners whom they must thoroughly introduce into their own industry, so they could have a good understanding of it, and together with the agency they should work for those good ideas that move the communications industry forward.
Marko Marjanović: We’re here to ease the clients’ fears – especially the clients with whom BBDO has been working for several years. Relationships should be based not only on trust, but also on showing that you have a firm grip on things.
MEDIA MARKETING: What advice would you give to your peers? To join you in this industry, or to try and find a better job?
Sonja Kalušević: This is not a job for people who like to completely shut down after 17:00h. It requires monitoring a variety of different areas, and a lot of thinking about work even after working hours. But I believe it will not disappoint anyone interested in this industry.
Marko Marjanović: Whether something is a good or a great job is an individual thing. The quality of a job depends on many factors, not just from the industry in which you work. Environment is a very important thing. Especially if it’s your first job. It’s very important how and where you start. In addition, this profession is very demanding. Advertising will always give back what you give to it. It’s as if you’re asking me whether I’d recommend Teodosić to get into the NBA. I would recommend it, but don’t complain afterwards how you have to run a lot in trainings.
MEDIA MARKETING: Do you have free time, and how do you spend it?
Marko Marjanović: In my free time I write for the pop culture site tegla.rs and host a radio show with my crew. I try to write as much as I can, or at least to experience as many things as possible to write about them when I retire.
Sonja Kalušević: I work on having more free time – for friends, for solitude while jogging, for a trip here and there, for books, for going out, for movies… All that in the end helps me find new inspiration for work.