In Two Flavors

Are you a talented creative who was squeezed out of the biz during the recession? Or just feeling restless in your current job? Have we got a job-hunting tip for you: Germany. As one of our far-flung correspondents reports after a whirlwind tour of that country, experienced advolk are in demand in the eastern part of Germany as it develops a capitalist infrastructure. So if you’re looking not just for a job but an adventure, it might be the place for you. Sebastian Turner, one of three partners running the Dresden office of agency Scholz & Friends, says he’s interested in hiring anyone who can communicate ideas. Warning: A job working for Turner might be more suitable for the junior copywriter than the executive creative director with the house in Westchester. Money is tight in eastern Germany now, low-quality housing is expensive and the telephone is still a luxury. As for salary, don’t expect too much. Neither Turner nor his two partners – Thomas Heilmann and Olaf Schumann – drew a salary until they’d brought in a few clients. (Based in Hamburg, Scholz & Friends is a subsidiary of Backer Spielvogel Bates Worldwide.) Schumann, who trained as a graphic artist in the old East Germany, once fell afoul of the state by speaking a bit too creatively and spent 30 months in a prison before West Germany purchased his freedom with a shipment of 90,000 oranges. Turner assures us, however, that he pays his employees in deutsche marks, not fruit.
Despite reunification, Germany still comes in two flavors, western and eastern, and the former might be a better bet if you’d find it a shock to the system to be in Germany at all. Western Germany, after all, is a lot like America except that the beer is better. And there, too, people from the English-speaking ad world have a certain cachet. Renate Guenther-Greene, a creative director at Grey’s Dusseldorf office, says she likes to hire creatives from England, since they tend to do good TV. But she’s fond of U.S. advertising as well, saying German and American commercials have a lot in common. There’s even a U.S. advertising expert on staff there: Maryann Barone, formerly of Lintas: N.Y., heads up one of the creative groups at Grey.
Copyright Adweek L.P. (1993)