Best Trends: Max, you have been the Global Creative Director of the Mediaplus Group since July 2022. To ask a blunt question: What do you do as a creative in the media business?
Max Schöngen: It’s simple: as a creative in the media, you make media more creative. My focus is set on three key areas: Culture, Awards and New Business. Culture is the most important of these three pillars. How do we think about Creative Media at Mediaplus, what structures and processes do we introduce and expand on? But not only that: how do we work together in an integrated way with all the other disciplines within the House of Communication? As a logical consequence, we apply precisely this, Creative Media, to our existing and new clients in order to make successful advertising visible with them and for them. And, of course, we also like to win an award or two along the way!
Best Trends: What exactly does Creative Media mean?
Max Schöngen: For us, we define it like this: solving client-specific, but also social problems and challenges through innovative and creative media ideas. We don’t just want to make a big noise with communication, we want people to be fascinated, moved and inspired. Creative Media is all about making fundamentally new things and is becoming increasingly important in the new business sector. One example is the C&A pitch – with our creative approaches, we were able to contribute to Mediaplus winning the account across 17 countries.
Best Trends: Who supports you with this?
Max Schöngen: Creative Media is firmly anchored in the hearts and minds of every colleague at Mediaplus. But in particular, in the hearts and minds of the members of our award and design team and the ‘BÄM Kollektiv’, our collective creative unit within the Mediaplus universe. We have restructured, redesigned and massively expanded this creative collective: in Germany, eight Mediaplus agencies across all locations now belong to the collective, and we have grown from 14 to 34 people. Due to the proven success of the system in Germany, we have now exported it to Italy and the Netherlands, to Mediaplus Nordics in Scandinavia, to the Middle East and to the Czech Republic. Its expansion into seven more countries is planned to begin from summer 2023.
Best Trends: How does the ‘BÄM Kollektiv’ work?
Max Schöngen: Our BÄM colleagues continue to work to 80% for their clients, in their teams and in their locations – this is not only important, but also our recipe for success. The collective is not an isolated creative unit, it is actually deeply rooted in the Mediaplus units. Being close to clients, client teams, marketers, creative agencies and partners ensures that our ideas are always part of the strategy and never just an add-on or ‘one more thing’. This also enables us to position ourselves in the long term as a Media Agency in creative terms.
Best Trends: You need talented creatives for this. Where do you find them?
Max Schöngen: In our own ranks! Fostering emerging talents is particularly important to us – which is why we try to encourage and support our young colleagues in every way.
For example, the ‘BÄM Kollektiv’ is an integral part of the trainee program. And it’s fruitful. In recent years, one of our teams has always made it to the final round of the Media Youngsters at the German Media Award. In the selection of the German Cannes Young Lions in the ‘Media’ category, four of the five final teams came from our ranks. The fact that our colleagues Max Zorg and Victoria Wissmann now represent the German media industry in Cannes makes us super proud! Mediaplus Austria is also providing the National Team Austria for the Cannes Young Lions. As Mediaplus, we are also the world’s first media agency be listed in the Miami-Ad-School portfolio. Since the beginning of this cooperation, we have regularly welcomed new students from the Miami-Ad-School as interns at Mediaplus.
Best Trends: Mediaplus is represented with numerous works at awards – what are the chances of success?
Max Schöngen: I’m very optimistic! The award season has just started. Nevertheless, we have been able to register a significant increase in our successes so far. At the German PlakaDiva Awards for creative out-of-home ideas, we won the entire innovation category with silver, bronze and gold. At the Clio Awards, we also took silver, bronze and gold, and at the Internationalist Awards we were able to take home a Grand Prix in addition to eight awards. What makes us even more proud is that we have been able to win more prizes at the German Media Award than ever before. However, the following still applies: Fingers crossed for the upcoming award ceremonies.
Best Trends: ÜberCreativity is the philosophy throughout the ‘House of Communication’. How is this reflected in your everyday work?
Max Schöngen: We live by the principles of what it says on every of our Serviceplan Group doors: ‘House of Communication’. Together with my co-creatives in the other pillars of the Group – Till Diestel, CCO of Serviceplan Agencies, and Christian Waitzinger, CXO at Plan.Net – we work and think together on pitches, client tasks and internal topics. When it comes to culture and awards, we work extremely closely together across and between disciplines. And that's not only fun, but also helps us all move forward.