Jens Mortier: The future will be very mobile

August 6, 2015

Interview with Jens Mortier, member of Balticbest 2015 jury (Belgium).

Many agencies complain that the clients will not buy really creative solutions. Clients are conservative, want to play safe. What is your advice: how to sell really groundbreaking ideas to conservative clients?

We never try to sell an idea. The idea should be so strong that it sells itself. If the strategy and insight is smart, and if the creative idea is fresh and relevant, it should do the job.

But sometimes of course you need to push a little bit. Not every client has the imagination we have, or knows the references that we know.
We tend to do research first, present case studies of successful creative work, we try out our ideas, and then present that to the client. We record radio, make animatics, or even basic digital things. That helps a lot.

But if the client really doesn’t feel it, don’t push your luck. It’s like buying a suit. A smart salesman may convince you to buy it, saying it’s the next big thing with very trendy colors. And you might buy it, even if it doesn’t feel comfortable. But you will never wear it twice. And never go back to that store.

What are the most important skills you are looking for when you hire new people to your agency?

Great talent, of course. Ambition too. We want people who want to change the world. Not Hitler-style, we only want great characters. We’re just a small agency of 35 people, we eat (and sleep) together. So we need nice human beings, team players. And they should shower, too.

How much should creatives worry about the business results of the campaign? I have conducted dozens of interviews with the creatives about several successful campaigns and as a surprise to me, 90% of the creatives do not know about the results of the campaign.

I think results are key. Our job is to create success for brands. The only way to create really groundbreaking work for really big clients, is by building trust. And if you want to build a relation of trust with your client, you should care about the results.

I don’t like creatives who only focus on awards, often won with a one shot idea that nobody (except the industry) has seen. I deeply respect agencies like Wieden + Kennedy, who produce great work, applauded by the industry and my mother, and with great business results.

What’s your view on mobile marketing? This year is Cannes the word “app” was mentioned in ironical context mainly. And it seems like the “this is the year of the mobile” phrase has become a joke.

It has indeed become a running gag, a bit like all the parodies on case movies. “There’s an app for that.” On the other hand I think the future will be very mobile. Mobile will become one of the most important touchpoints for brands. This has a high impact on the kind of communication, and the formats. The good news is that only the really relevant apps will survive.

In 2004, after eight years as Creative Director at Duval Guillaume, Jens Mortier founded the independent agency mortierbrigade along with three partners in crime.They work for Deutsche Bank, Mobistar Telecom, The National Lottery, Radiostation Studio Brussels, De Standaard Newspaper, and many others.

mortierbrigade has won about 25 Lions at Cannes, including Titanium, and 30 Eurobest Awards, including three Grands Prix. They were also number nine in the rankings for Independent Agency of the Year at Cannes Lions 2013. Jens is also President of the Creative Club of Belgium.

Interviewed by Hando Sinisalu, Best Marketing International