We talk to the world’s most awarded creative directors in this series called the 6,5 interview. Meet Magnus Jakobsson Executive Creative Director at Åkestam Holst agency who won all available awards, delivered international fame to the agencies he worked at and helped create, launch and creative direct ‘Humanium Metal’, the famous project whereby the metal from weapons confiscated by the authorities is re-used to make new products for participating brands.
1) What was your biggest fear when you just started?
Magnus Jakobsson: ‘My fear was that I wouldn’t be a good match with the advertising community. But as it turned out, back then in Sweden, the industry was mostly populated with quite lazy creatives who seemed to mistake creative excellence for a lifestyle, some sort of ”cool image” fuelled by all the money they made compared to their friends with ”normal” jobs. My intense passion for creating great advertising had nothing to do with wearing the right jeans at the right parties, I guess. No offence to the ”cool” and beautiful ones or anything, but image must never be confused with talent. Having said that, I’m wearing sunglasses indoors while writing this.”
2) Describe your key-career break moment…
‘My ”breakthrough” in my so called ”career” was when I was at Saatchi & Saatchi in Stockholm and won a pitch for a new post work-out supplement called Gainomax, a product meant to be consumed after training instead of a banana. The concept we created was simply called ”Bananas are for monkeys” and it truly exploded on the market. Gainomax success became a fact beyond any doubt, and the concept became one of the longest running in Sweden. Simple, extremely effective and borderline stupid in its insight; stupidly perfect.’
“Only the best will survive and be able to enjoy the new era of creative advertising. An era with pure creative talent at its core.”
3) What was the lesson learned from your most loved mistake?
‘The list of mistakes is too long, really. But I truly believe that making mistakes is what shapes experience and perfects future creative work in many ways. Freedom to fail is a key ingredient for any great agency. Failing is a great way to learn how to succeed. If you don’t take risks, your audience will never love you. It’s like with most things in life, mistakes are never the end of the world.’
4) Where do you get your inspiration?
‘I have a genuine interest in everything that stands out from the status quo. ”General weirdness” attracts my attention every time. If I see a magazine about making clothes for let’s say rats, I buy it immediately. The one country in the world that can offer the most when it comes to high weirdness in a great way is Japan. And, naturally, I love the place from the bottom of my heart. If I didn’t have a family here in Stockholm, I would move there and just surround myself with the never ending beauty of everything that’s the opposite of average and boring.’
5) If you want to get ahead in advertising these days, please, please do not ever…
‘Never use advertising as your inspiration. Keep up with what’s done by others, but never use it as fuel for thoughts. Don’t just break through the noise of advertising. Never enter the noise in the first place. Great ideas destroy the status quo. They are interesting for real, not as advertising.’
“Don’t just break through the noise of advertising.
Never enter the noise in the first place.”
6) If I was a millennial and wanted to start in advertising now, I would…
‘Become great at something! It can be writing, 3D animation, filmmaking or whatever. Don’t become just another ”creative” in a pair of spotless sneakers. My point is: Only the best will survive and be able to enjoy the new era of creative advertising. An era with pure creative talent at its core.’
(6,5) Also, I'd like to state that…
‘Don’t just break through the noise of advertising.
Never enter the noise in the first place.’