Nominated "Advertiser of the Year" 2018: Daniel Zuberbühler

Daniel Zuberbühler co-founded Sir Mary just under two years ago. The ascent has been steep. Today, the agency is already "Digital Agency of the Year" and boasts an impressive client portfolio.


In May 2016, Daniel Zuberbühler, together with Florian Beck and Maurizio Rugghia, set out to shake up the Swiss agency world: The three former management members of Serranetga (now Equipe) ventured a new start with Sir Mary. The goal: to appeal to clients who want to break out of existing structures and thus tackle the ever new challenges - increasing channel complexity and increasingly fragmented media use. Challenge the traditional full-service model. Guide brands through the complexity of the networked world. Claim: "We decomplex digital".

"It often doesn't work out when an advertising agency produces a funny film, the media agency tries to make a viral out of it, and in the end a social media agency is desperately hired to somehow save the whole thing," Zuberbühler said at the time.

Steep ascent

One and a half years later, the first interim conclusion: mission accomplished. After a rapid and steep rise, Sir Mary has established itself on the market within a very short time. And is constantly winning new, important clients. After this short time, the agency is already working for brands such as Samsung, UBS, Allianz Suisse, Swisslos, Coop, Switzerland Tourism, Globus, Swiss International Air Lines, Scout24, Swiss Re, Sharoo and M-Way. The quality of the client portfolio and the pace at which it is being expanded also earned praise in the "Advertiser of the Year" judging.


Focus on customer work

At the beginning of February 2018, the work of Daniel Zuberbühler and his colleagues was officially recognized not behind closed doors, but on the big stage: Sir Mary was named "Digital Agency of the Year" at the Digital Marketing Awards. With a new concept of client work, the agency has found a way to win many new clients, it says in the citation. In addition to a high level of strategic competence, Sir Mary is characterized by a strong focus on creation and consulting.

These strategic and advisory strengths are one of the reasons why the jury has once again nominated a consultant in the person of Daniel Zuberbühler - even though he is, of course, also standing in for his founding colleagues Beck and Rugghia.

"The role of the consultant has changed a lot in recent years. From being a cardboard dummy who was allowed to run with the creative people, to a key figure, a generalist," says Zuberbühler. And laughs: "I also once thought about going the creative route. A two-week internship at a design agency cured me of that idea." (hae)


Switzerland Tourism Winter Campaign 2017/2018: How do you market the Swiss winter worldwide? With a rallying cry for the entire tourism industry. The Swiss winter offers numerous promises that are fulfilled almost nowhere else in the world: From guaranteed snow to breathtaking landscapes to authentic mountain villages. All reasons to experience your winter in Switzerland. To clearly position this unique package in turbulent times, Sir Mary developed the communication umbrella "Upgrade your Winter".

Samsung Pay: How does Samsung manage to get the Swiss population excited about a new payment service? The out-of-home and display campaign focuses on strong coverage. Because Samsung Pay works with almost all payment systems. Whether at the kiosk, in the restaurant or in the mall: Samsung Pay makes the wallet practically obsolete. In the campaign visuals, the various payment options are framed by the edge-to-edge screen of the Samsung Galaxy S8.

Sharroo: Sharoo is a start-up that makes useless cars available to people who just need a car. At the center of the communication was the Neue Deutsche Welle world hit "Da Da" by Trio. Sir Mary engaged the master himself for the remake of the music video: Stephan Remmler.

Allianz Suisse: With the realignment of the brand attitude and the claim "Courage means making", Sir Mary has created a positioning that focuses on the everyday courage of customers. Allianz Suisse wants to encourage its customers to turn their plans into reality. The new attitude is launched with an integrated brand campaign that shows the various facets of the term courage along the customer journeys. From quiet situations of courage in everyday life to stages of life that require a particularly high level of courage.


Advertising Week: Daniel Zuberbühler, what was your first thought when you heard about the nomination for Advertiser of the Year?

Daniel Zuberbühler: I was still on ski vacation and almost fell off the lift. I feel very honored, but also surprised. After Sir Mary's award as "Digital Agency of the Year 2018", now this! We are very pleased with the positive response. I see the nomination as an award for all Sirs and Marys. In addition, of the three nominees, I am the only consultant. Perhaps this is also a sign that consulting has taken on a different significance in times of increasing complexity in advertising?

In general: What does advertising mean to you?

For me, advertising is one of the most exciting symbioses of art and commerce. Operating at this interface has fascinated me for a long time. As far as I can remember, I applied to Advico right after graduating from high school. And I wasn't even invited for an interview. Now we are in the most exciting time since there has been advertising. Never before have we had so many opportunities to surprise and entertain people.

Looking back on 2017: What was your personal highlight of the advertising year?

One of our highlights was certainly the double pitch win at Allianz Suisse. First as a media agency, then as a creative agency. This allowed us to fully play to our strengths and convince the client twice. That's what we were founded for.

Name a "key campaign" that has had a decisive impact on your personal career?

As the only consultant among the nominees, it's not the classic creative awards that are decisive for me, of course. I'm fascinated by the complex tasks: One of my favorites and a "key moment" for us as an agency was our Sharoo campaign with Stephan Remmler. "DA-DA-DA" was just a lot of fun, a lot of things fit. We were able to contribute along the entire customer journey. Starting with building up brand awareness and optimizing the digital
channels to media distribution. A dream for every consultant and for Sir Mary.

Who has influenced you the most professionally?

Florian Beck and Maurizio Rugghia, of course. And they've been doing it every day for more than five years.

What has been the most difficult decision of your career so far?

The same every day: How can I go full throttle at the agency and have the best time with my family at the same time? Luckily, I get a lot of support from both sides.

Where would you work if not in the advertising industry?

I think as a consultant you have to be a people person. I could never work alone. I need the hustle and bustle of the office. People who challenge and inspire me. I'm probably the most patient of the impatient. Nevertheless, I need the variety in my everyday life. From there, I would try to work somewhere different every day: on Monday in an editorial office, on Tuesday in a café, on Wednesday at a start-up, on Thursday at a school and on Friday at an NGO. Without guarantee of completeness.

What three words would you use to describe yourself?

Advertiser. Des. Year. At least I would like to.

You are given a day off tomorrow: how do you organize it?

The nice thing about being self-employed: No one gives me a day off. But otherwise: With my family, of course. They set the pace, so I don't have to worry about that.

Which superpower would you choose if you had the choice?

"Silver Surfer" I still thought was the most exciting superhero in my youth in the 90s and would have loved to have his powers. In that comic book phase, however, I was less interested in American superheroes, more in underground artists like Robert Crumb. Today, I'm more fascinated by the superpowers of Zeralda by Tomi Ungerer. She's six years old and cooks so insanely well that the giant man-eater stops eating children. One of my favorite children's books.


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