Karl Wolfgang Epple is Executive Creative Director for WPP’s German shop THJNK across 10 agencies in Germany, Switzerland and the USA. Here are his replies to questions Mobius Awards asked him about creative work.
Q: What do you look for first when assessing a creative work?
Epple: I always look for creative ideas that have a) a deep cultural understanding or b) a strong cultural impact. I truly believe that advertising doesn’t matter at all if it doesn’t have any cultural relevance. This doesn’t mean that creative work has to be a mirror people’s lives (We have memes for that). And it doesn’t mean that you’re not allowed to call a product “Pocari Sweat,” just because English speaking people find that funny. It means that 9-year-old boys on football pitches all around the world take up Ronaldo’s trademark stance and pull their shorts up before free-kicks. Because this kind of behaviour matters to them deeply. This is the kind of brand communication I look for.
Q: You have said: “I rate current advertising with good, bad and no matter.” Can you elaborate on that?
Epple: I started judging advertising on my Twitter account for fun and decided to keep it simple. If a piece of work is really relevant for the people, helpful for the brand and inspiring for the industry – good. If it’s not relevant — no matter. If it harms the brand — boo!
Q: What are you observing in your field of creativity?
Epple: When you talk to agency people in Germany about influencers everybody’s annoyed by all the bla-bla. On the other hand, everybody loves Kylie Jenner, this amazing woman who will become the world’s youngest billionaire before she turns 21. Of course, Kylie’s not your everyday influencer, but Kylie is the perfect example for blurred lines between persons and brands. This kind of brand singularity will definitely affect how people perceive and value advertising response brands in the nearer future.