"At its core, Ammarkt stands for effective creativity"

In advertising, it's crucial to keep your finger on the pulse while upholding the values of creativity and authenticity, says Danijel Sljivo of St. Gallen-based advertising agency Ammarkt in a video talk that also features his dedicated team.

Werbewoche.ch: Danijel Sljivo, you've been at the helm of the Ammarkt agency since the beginning of August. Have you made a good start?

Danijel Sljivo: Absolutely. Yesterday I drove the car into the underground garage, and when I pulled in, I had the feeling that I was at home.


The change from the advertising culture of Zurich to the advertising culture of eastern Switzerland. Is there a difference there?

Maybe everything is just a bit more down-to-earth here. But at the end of the day, both are national agencies that serve national clients and operate throughout Switzerland.


Ammarkt is quite a large agency by Swiss standards, with over 30 employees. What can you tell us about this agency? 

Ammarkt is the agency in St. Gallen. We have already been in existence for 24 years, so next year we will celebrate our 25th anniversary. We've been at this location, Breitfeldstrasse 8, for around seven years, and we're spread out over two floors here with spacious premises that accommodate the various departments well. We are a creative communications agency, so efficient routes are particularly important to us.


Do you also have a digital team, including social media?

Social media has a high priority for us. It's the channel we can actively use and operate, with a wide range of functions from content creation to motion design. That's something we're proud of.


Matthias Schiess, you are a content creator at Ammarkt. What do you particularly appreciate here? 

Matthias Schiess: What I like about Ammarkt is the great premises, the great team and, of course, our varied customers. It is very diverse.


Can you tell us about your latest project as a content creator?

Currently, I am working on next month's editorial plan for the Shopping Arena. I am planning the content we would like to create next month.


And what tools do you use for this?

My constant companion is the smartphone. We use it to record everything, then edit it on the PC or smartphone and publish the stories.


How do customers react when you create videos with their smartphone and don't use an expensive professional camera?

Customers are very open-minded. Ultimately, we can produce high-quality content with smartphones.


Matthias Schiess is a social media creator who uses modern and innovative methods. Can you say that innovation is a trademark of Ammarkt?

Danijel Sljivo: Social media is crucial for us because we want to have our finger on the pulse. But at its core, Ammarkt stands for effective creativity, which means targeted innovation.


Remo Bügler, you are Digital Director at Ammarkt. How important is the team to you?

Remo Bügler: Teamwork is extremely important, especially in the digital age, where things have to move fast and flexibility is required to meet the dynamic market and environment.


What did you just do?

We just did some rough planning in terms of what we're going to shoot next, social media, content production, everything that goes along with that.


It seemed to be very entertaining. How important is the atmosphere for you?

Fun at work is very important and is emphasized here.


What is a particular challenge for Ammarkt?

Danijel Sljivo: Our biggest challenge is to capture the attention of our customers' target groups.


And how do you go about achieving this goal?

I believe the only way to get there is through authentic and relevant communication.


We are now standing on your roof terrace, where another Ammarkt asset becomes tangible: customer proximity.

In fact, we not only have short internal communication channels, but also close relationships with our customers. Just across the street is our customer Livique. Further down the road, Lumimart is at home. And when we turn around, we see the shopping arena for which we work as a full-service agency.


There are many B2B companies in the St. Gallen region. How important are they for you?

B2B is of great importance for us and also for the entire region. We see great potential here in the area of employer branding. We are aware of the challenges of the shortage of skilled workers and have already implemented successful projects with various customers in this area.


Vanessa Niklaus, you work as an art director in the creation department at Ammarkt. What do you particularly appreciate about your work at Ammarkt?

Vanessa Niklaus: On the one hand, I appreciate the extremely varied customers and exciting fields of activity. Every working day is very varied. But also the team, which works together excellently. We have an excellent team spirit. Of course, funny moments in the daily work routine also make for a relaxed atmosphere.


Danijel is sitting next to you now. He has recently joined Ammarkt. What is your impression after the first few weeks?

I think Danijel is very likeable. Whenever I deal with him, there is a great exchange at eye level.


Do you have any specific requests or expectations for his role?

Of course, I expect him to continue to successfully manage and develop the agency.


We have reached the end of the tour of the Ammarkt agency. Very interesting, exciting fields of activity and likeable people. Finally, two questions: Artificial intelligence, how do you see its importance for the industry?

Danijel Sljivo: Artificial intelligence is already an integral part of our everyday lives and offers significant benefits in terms of increased efficiency, personalization and data management. Nevertheless, I am glad that strategic thinking, ethics, morals and interpersonal relationships are still in human hands.


Another important topic is employee recruitment. What measures are you taking in this area?

Employee recruitment is also of great importance to us. Every employee is valuable to us as we provide services. We will therefore review our recruitment processes and also invest in training and development programs to retain talented employees in the long term.


Finally, a general question about the industry: Where do you see the greatest need for improvement or adjustment in the advertising and communications industry?

I believe the biggest opportunity and challenge for the industry and marketing as a whole lies in authentic and relevant communication. Without this, we run the risk of being perceived as untrustworthy.

From intern to CEO. Born and raised in eastern Switzerland with Croatian roots, he started out Danijel Sljivo started his career as an intern at TBWA Zurich after studying business administration. Further positions took him to Jung von Matt Limmat and Mercedes-Benz, before he returned to TBWA seven years ago as Managing Director. In the meantime, he expanded his knowledge with an Executive MBA in Digital Transformation. Since August 1, 2023 he steers the fortunes of the owner-managed creative agency as CEO. Amarket.
Ammarkt CEO Danijel Sljivo. (Image: Beat Hürlimann)

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