"One lap on my road bike has solved many a challenge".

Der frisch gewählte «Werber des Jahres 2023» André Hefti von Schweiz Tourismus hat mit Anna Kohler von m&k Werbewoche.ch gesprochen.

André Hefti was named "Advertiser of the Year 2023" on Monday evening aboard the MS Wadin on Lake Zurich. (Image: Chris Reist)

m&k advertisingweek.ch: Congratulations, André Hefti. How does it feel to win the title "Advertiser of the Year" to wear?

André HEfti: Surreal, great, grateful. Approximately in this order. And for me it is already a surprise. Andrea, Andy and Manuel do a great job and would have deserved the title at least as much.


There is so much work, commitment and passion for advertising behind the title. The recognition does you good, doesn't it?

The fact that the work of my entire team and of Switzerland Tourism has received so much recognition fills me with pride and happiness. We are all overwhelmed and find it a nice confirmation that what we do makes sense. We are simply very grateful that we can do what we do.


The phase from nomination to title was long. Was there a lot of support from the community, perhaps also criticism?

Clients are rarely nominated for this award. And never anyone from the tourism industry. It was nice for me to see how the whole Swiss tourism pie was happy about this nomination. That's how I interpret the invariably positive feedback I was allowed to receive. "We have been nominated," the industry has said. Now I'm even greeted at events with the words: "Lueg, de Wärber!"


What accents do you want to set as "Put advertiser of the year?

My role as CMO at Switzerland Tourism is primarily about successfully developing our brand. In doing so, we want to remain innovative and focus on the issue of sustainability. As an "advertiser," three things are close to my heart: First, I am convinced that Switzerland as a creative location receives too little attention internationally and that there is still potential here. Second, I am a great advocate of holistic brand management. The topic is more topical than ever and has many exciting facets. Thirdly, I would like to take the opportunity to promote and challenge talent in the communications industry even more consciously.


What would you like to change if you were given the opportunity? What topics are hot in the industry for 2023?

I'm convinced that at the moment we're still making far too little use of the opportunities offered by sustainability in Switzerland and exploiting them as a strength. I wish that the communications industry in particular would really take off here. For themselves, but above all together with and for their customers. In tourism, we have launched the "Swisstainable" movement and are well on the way to positioning Switzerland as the most sustainable travel destination.


Are there any other topics?

Another topic that is evolving almost exponentially is the changing nature of content. In the age of universal information availability, consumer expectations about where and how they interact with content have changed dramatically. We need to be much faster and better at serving the clientele the content they are looking for, on the platforms they want, at any given time. And clearly, artificial intelligence is a big topic that will shape all of us in the coming years. We're only beginning to see the impact of AI on the way we work. We still have a lot to learn as an industry about how best to use AI to deliver better experiences to our clientele while increasing our efficiency.


Do we still need awards today? What is your opinion of this type of competition?

Awards continue to play an important role, providing recognition and appreciation for excellence and creative work. They help raise standards in the industry by recognizing and promoting the best campaigns and ideas. And they are definitely a reason to really celebrate! Despite everything, however, the focus must not be on winning an award. The main goal of our work must always be to create effective campaigns that really make a difference.


Which campaign that you were able to implement in 2022 makes you particularly proud?

At Switzerland Tourism, everything revolves around recharging one's batteries embedded in Swiss nature, both in leisure and business tourism. The slogan for this is "I need Switzerland. We were able to positively charge this with good stories and many successful activities. Each individual campaign made its contribution to the overall success. The one with Roger Federer and Anne Hathaway was certainly a great success and went down as the most successful campaign in the history of Switzerland Tourism. However, my personal highlight was "100% Women". The energy and enthusiasm that this campaign was able to unleash in the community was overwhelming.


After all, creative output doesn't come to order. How, where and with whom are you most creative?

Creativity is a process that cannot be activated simply by pressing a button. Like a pinball machine, we have to trigger many flashes of inspiration to hit the jackpot. At Switzerland Tourism, I'm inspired by working with a global network of 37 offices and more than 1,000 partners from the tourism industry and being supported by the most creative minds from the best Swiss agencies. A special highlight is our collaboration with Roger Federer and his team, who offer us a unique perspective and always inspire us to new
Inspire ideas.


What do you do when self-doubt overtakes you and you feel strongly challenged? How do you turn that energy into something positive?

A round with my road bike has already solved many a challenge. I get my head clear, the knots almost untie themselves, I breathe fresh air and recharge my batteries. Besides, I live by the principle: "There's no such thing as can't!" There is a solution for (almost) everything.


Who has influenced you on your way to becoming "Advertiser of the Year 2023"?

First and foremost, I would like to thank my great team at Switzerland Tourism. We have a dynamic, powerful and enthusiastic team that gets to work every day on what is arguably one of the most beautiful products. Then my thanks also go to the network of partners with whom we work closely. In the foreground are probably Livio and Petra with Wirz, Mauri and Fabian with Sir Mary and Dominique von Matt. We also have excellent support from the team at Bold, MRB, Webrepublic and Made. This title belongs to a wonderful network of great personalities who all have a lot of Switzerland in their hearts.

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