How good does the fourth victory taste?

Jung von Matt Limmat soars. Four wins in a row in the creative ranking published every year by Werbewoche and ADC. A winner interview with creatives Annette Häcki, Luitgard Hagl and Carsten Jamrow.

Exuberant mood at the agency meeting via Zoom: Jung von Matt Limmat is delighted with its fourth creative ranking win. The creatives Anette Häcki, Luitgard Hagl and Carsten Jamrow (large, from left to right) in an interview with Werbewoche.

Advertising week: Congratulations to success! What makes you particularly proud?

Carsten Jamrow: It's not so much the fourth win in a row that makes us proud, but the continuity behind it. The victory in 2020 is of course particularly memorable. What makes us proud is our shared culture, our interaction with each other and the corresponding output. And the courage of our customers to realize work that is a talking point and has a lasting effect.


What is the composition of success? What is the recipe?

Annette Häcki: No focus (laughs). No, seriously: We've dealt with a lot this year - but probably least of all with the creative ranking. Corona, like all other agencies, has presented us with major challenges. How will we work creatively as a team and with our clients in the future? Where do we go for inspiration? And how do we maintain our corporate culture?

Carsten Jamrow: Keyword corporate culture: Believe it or not, we actually live our Guiding Principles every day. From "We love the new," to "We remain dissatisfied," or "We celebrate diversity," they remind us to never stand still, to discover meaning in the supposedly meaningless, and to always look ahead. That's why rankings reflect the past. And we are much less interested in the past than in what will happen in the future.

Annette Häcki: Exactly. Accordingly, we look forward to continuing to work with our clients on an equal footing to conceive ideas and campaigns and implement concrete measures. In our view, close collaboration is the cornerstone of successful marketing communication. Our success in the creative rankings and the year 2020 in general seem to confirm this orientation.

Carsten Jamrow: ... Guiding principles and collaboration or not: We are of course already looking forward to toasting this victory together at some point!


Luitgard Hagl, you're just starting out at Jung von Matt Limmat. Does the victory have a special signal effect for you?

Luitgard Hagl: Absolutely. It's great for me, of course, to know that I'll be starting out in such a great agency. With smart people who produce the most creative work in the country. But also in our new constellation and for the future, the following applies: little focus on creative points and instead always get better in the breadth of the day-to-day business.


With Dennis Lück, you have to cope with the departure of someone who played a major role in the victories, how will you position yourself in the future?

Annette Häcki: That's the way it is. Dennis and the ranking, that is of course an institution. But we won't change our focus in the future and continue to believe in "the Power of Many". In the newly launched Excellence Board, which consists of Luitgard, Carsten, Stefan Naef and me, we implement this consistently. Together, we take care of the creative output of the agency.

New members of the Jung von Matt Limmat Excellence Board: Annette Häcki, Luitgard Hagl and Carsten Jamrow (from left to right).

Let's look further into the future. You anchor the philosophy of tearing down silo thinking in the new creative ecosystem. What can one imagine by that?

Carsten Jamrow: Breaking down silos is nothing new: We have already been working in interdisciplinary teams for two years. But what we are consolidating even further with the creative ecosystem is the decoupling of professional leadership and personal coaching, and interdisciplinarity in leadership. In concrete terms, this means that the Excellence Board coaches the teams in their daily work and their creative output. We are responsible for the agency's handwriting, so to speak. The Empowerment Board, on the other hand, is responsible for the development of employees on an individual level. And here we lead in an interdisciplinary way: as a creative, my coach from the Empowerment Board can also be someone from strategy or consulting.

Luitgard Hagl: With this setting, we realize effective communication. By 2021 at the latest, this will only be possible if we work together. Less ego and more trust are needed. The rules of the glorified 1990s, when hierarchies only represented the value of an employee, are definitely over.


Speaking of hierarchies: In connection with the creative ecosystem, you also keep talking about how hierarchy kills creativity. At the same time, you introduce various boards. How do you reconcile that?

Luitgard Hagl: That gets along very well (laughs). The boards are not an additional hierarchical level, but a service for creation and - in the case of the empowerment board - a service for all employees. We offer an experienced view that helps to solve the challenges on projects even more creatively, better and, in the end, measurably more effectively. Figuratively speaking: To consistently bring the horsepower that the ranking certifies to us to the everyday road. And to let all our customers benefit from this.

Annette Häcki: Our teams work in a collaborative and self-organized manner. A creative authority that makes decisions from its ivory tower is out of place here. The creative ecosystem should also offer employees different career opportunities.


What does that look like in concrete terms?

Carsten Jamrow: Where I start at Jung von Matt doesn't necessarily influence where I go in the agency. On the one hand, I can shift my focus, but on the other hand, a next career step doesn't necessarily mean personnel responsibility. A senior copywriter can be on the same pay scale as someone who manages three people across disciplines. What is also possible: Our employees can develop in the direction of "Client Relation" or become self-employed within the Jung-von-Matt network. We think of the career concept as open and flexible as possible.

Luitgard Hagl: ... and therefore offer our trainee program "Future Creative Leaders". Our trainees do not start in a specific area, but get to know the agency and all its facets during the first three months. In the second half of the traineeship, they can then decide on their first focus. Our first "class" of Future Creative Leaders is just starting its second half and focuses on everything from creation to strategy to client relations.


Keyword: further training for the young. That's also part of the philosophy. What can successful agencies learn from the next generation?

Annette Häcki: Very much so, we believe. That's why we're also pursuing the "Juniors First" strategy. Which admittedly also takes a bit of courage. We all tend to hire someone who has many years of experience and can therefore deliver better work. We are trying to break away from this notion. Just because something has "always been done this way" doesn't mean that another way might not be faster, more interesting or better.

Carsten Jamrow: It is above all the impartiality of young talent that inspires us as an agency. In the trainee program, we also explicitly look for people with very different backgrounds. This enriches the agency, the joint work and ultimately the creative output.


Will 2021 be another year dominated by awards, or are you scaling that down a bit to focus on realignment?

Carsten Jamrow: This year, too, we will not be focusing on awards, but on realizing excellent work with our customers. I have no doubt that we will succeed with clients such as Coop, Mobiliar and Zalando.

Annette Häcki: And 2021 should naturally also be an inspiring year for our employees. I am confident that we will achieve both goals. The experiences of the past year - whether with customers or as an agency - have strengthened us in our chosen path.


Jung von Matt Limmat of the future: Do you give an outlook?

Luitgard Hagl: I don't know the Jung von Matt Limmat of the past as well as Annette and Carsten, but perhaps that's exactly what helps to formulate a vision for the future. In recent years, the agency has implemented new processes, structures and ways of working in a way that is impressive to me. Everything that many other agencies only talk about in buzzword-rich terms or still dream about. So my vision is: the number one agency for first-class clients and the best employees.

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