Aris is a freelance strategist with a focus on integrated marketing. He was worked with clients like Vodafone, Unilever Honda and Red Bull.

Find this episode in all your usual podcast places: Spotify | Apple | Google

In this episode we discuss:

  1. Strategy v tactics and how they should work together
  2. How to present strategy to clients
  3. What strategy looks like when companies do it for themselves
  4. How Oatly came about
  5. Positioning Oatly to dominate a new category
  6. Being brave as a consultant
  7. Old Spice and how they use consumer insight
  8. Are personas any use?
  9. Do funnels add value to presentations and strategies?
  10. Brand purpose – Instagram v reality
  11. An example of two car brands and their approach to using their brand purpose
  12. Aris’ background and how he got into strategy
  13. The cult of genius and how that stacks up against professionalism

Book Recommendations

Ogilvy on Advertising

Confessions of an Advertising Man

The Book of Gossage (or Can Advertising Be Saved?)

And one about Gossage from Steve Harrison: Changing the World Is the Only Fit Work for a Grown Man

Playing to Win

Creating Great Choices by Roger Martin

Digital Marketing Strategy Course

My Digital Marketing Strategy Course in partnership with the University of Vaasa in Finland is available now via Teachable for just €249.

It’s perfect for small business owners, entrepreneurs and those who want to get a better understanding of what marketing strategy is and how to embed that strategy across an organisation.

Sign up for the programme here:


Today’s T.O.P.T.I.P is from… me! Check out Luke Carthy’s Black Friday lessons from last year, especially if you haven’t started planning yet!

Aris Stamatis  

Aris is an ex-musician, ex-photographer, ex-art director, ex-editor.

He began his career in advertising as a copywriter and UX strategist with a creative focus, working for clients like Vodafone, eBay, Unilever, Honda, Swatch, Red Bull or MTV. Aris believes that nailing the problem provides 93,9% of the solution, so he finally turned creative strategist.

He never leaves home without a tie, e.g. walking the dog.

Find Aris on LinkedIn.

Andi Jarvis

If you have any questions or want to talk about anything that was discussed in the show, the best place to get me is on Twitter or LinkedIn.

If you don’t get the podcast emailed to you (and a monthly newsletter) you can sign up for it on the Eximo Marketing website.

Make sure you subscribe to get the podcast every fortnight and if you enjoyed the show, please give it a 5* rating.

Andi Jarvis, Eximo Marketing.

Interview Transcription

This transcript has been done automagically using Happy Scribe and hasn’t been checked by a real person, so there may be some hilarious mistakes where the AI can’t work out our accents – I’m sure they’re trained on just the American accent.

So today my guest for the strategy sessions is Aris Stamatis.

They say, Never meet your heroes.

And I think that’s rubbish, because today I am meeting one of mine,

LinkedIn, if you are a regular user, can be a bit of a strange place.

There’s a lot of interesting people

and a lot of people doing a lot of self promotion.

I think I’m one of them and a lot

of people trying to sell lots of things I’ve met via LinkedIn.

And one of the reasons I say is one

of my heroes is every time I get a notification that says Aris has left

a comment, I know it’s going to be brilliant, and I know it’s going to be

insightful, and I know it’s going to add to the discussion.

So when I started planning season two of the podcast is like, who do I want on?

Aris was one of those people.

So I am so pleased to have you on the show today.

Arish, welcome to the strategy sessions.

Yeah, welcome.

Thank you for having me

the places on my bit embarrassing.

But yeah,

look, I didn’t warn you about that introduction.

But pleasure is all mine. I’ve heard.

Thank you for coming along today

when we’re planning this series

of the strategy sessions, one of the things I wanted to do is have

more strategists on there, and that’s what you do.

So before we talk about your career,

let’s just start with a really simple question, what does strategy mean to you?

So we talked about it a little bit, I think, to put it in very simple terms,

it’s the things you do to achieve a goal,

and that leads to a discussion.

We tried to avoid it, but I think it’s necessary

for the definition.

There’s a lot of discussion aboutit’s.

Strategy different from execution is one thing is one thing strategy.

The other thing is planning strategy versus tactics.

And I think it’s more as all the same.


if you have a good strategy,

which means you know what you are doing to achieve something.

You’ll have both you’ll have planning in advance and then the execution.

And I don’t think you can really

draw a line between us.

So if you want to have a good strategy, you need a good plan, a good execution.

If you don’t have a plan,

you’ll still have a strategy because you’ll be doing something

when you don’t do anything and just have plans, you have basically nothing.

It’s not a strategy.

That’s my personal definition.

I know that people

do draw a line between strategy.

There’s another line between deliberate and agile strategy.

I think it all comes down to what do you actually do?


think I have a view sometimes that this demarcation between strategy and tactics,

so is pushed hardest by Strategists, and I often think it comes back

to the the history of strategy, which is from the Greek

leader of the Army, I think is the etymology of the word strategy.

And I have a feeling a lot of strategists like this position of feeling

of importance and leadership and things like that.

So we like to say that our discipline is

different and separate, and therefore we like to keep it apart from execution.

What they feel, you have that view.

You just have a piece of paper on exactly as it’s a piece of paper.

And I think if we talk about war and the Greek,

if you come up with a plan, everybody would be like, yeah, that’s billion.

Let’s do it.

And so I think if you look at strategy,

at the history of strategy and advertising, that maybe

might explain why we try to make it

a Noble discipline that’s somewhat set apart from execution.

Because historically,

advertising agencies didn’t earn any money with creativity.

They took a Commission for the media places.

So that’s why they are called agencies.

They sold ad inventory on behalf of newspapers, for example.

Then they tried to create some

differentiation between the different agencies.

And that was creativity.

And then they discovered market research, obviously was very famously using this.

And then the next thing was,

there was quite a big change.

Someone had the idea, why do we work for Commission?

Why don’t we take fees?

We will still have loads of money to her.

And we can be cheaper than the other agencies.

So I think the strategy came up as

a discipline to avoid the price, price competition.

So you have to add something and say, okay, I might

I’m not cheaper, but without your money,

work harder because we have the strategy Department, that all kinds of stuff.

And so you don’t have these.

We’re genius coming up with some creative stuff.

That’s actually the strategic idea behind it.


you want to have a clear line between strategy and creativity,

because if you have the mad genius, who’s the creative guy?

Strategy has to be different.

You can’t have a map, professor.

That’s very much like the creative.

You need to have someone else.

So I think that’s why they insist on this.

Yeah, on the border between the two disciplines.

And I think historically hasn’t been this way always.

There has been advertising before strategy.

When you see madman, they’re doing strategy all the time.

But it’s just like, okay, how do we tackle this?

What’s the problem? What?

What can we promise what’s really relevant?

That’s what Billy does.

In the end,

if you focus on creativity, strategy can give you some insights.

But in the end that you don’t deliver this strategy with your ads.

So the creators have to work for themselves.

So I don’t think it’s useful to have a line between the two disciplines to I

think it might even leave the silos like, you have a strategy.

You present it to the clients,

and then you show the ads or the creative ideas you have when

the client goes like, okay, where do I find the strategy in the app?


And the great ads, especially you have to remember that the client not the client.

So the consumer never sees the strategy.

So the two things have to work together.

I often

in very simplistic terms, described to clients.

Strategies where we’re going tactics is how are we going to get there?

So if I said I was going to come

to my strategies to come to Hamburg to meet you, if I don’t have any tactics,

then I’m still going to be sat here in Belfast if I only have tactics.

So I know I’m going to have to drive somewhere.

I’m going to have to get a plane.

I’m going have to take a bus, then a train.

That’s wonderful. But I might end up Munich.

So I’ve landed in the wrong place.

But if you put both together and I have

a strategy, when we’re going to go Hamburg to see Aris and the tactics,

I’m going to drive to the airport, jump on a flight,

the flights consumer here, we’ll end up in the same coffee shop 18

hours later having a coffee doing this discussion in person.

So those two things have to work together.

One is not more important than the other seven.

One guy

clashes quite well now in Germany’s,

a bit old school, but he worked a lot on branding and strategy.

And when he worked for clients

on the company side, he said, I don’t want my advertising agency

to deliver anything on strategy, because in the end, it’s just the we don’t

deliver the strategy along with the ad, so it has to work on itself.

And I don’t want them to waste any time.

When you’re paying them.

I don’t even want a presentation.

Just give me the ads if you like,

put it in a magazine so I can see the context and that it.

No, you took up about the presentation there.

So I’m going to maybe ask you about that when you present strategies

to clients, how long and involved is that presentation?

Are you of the let’s keep it short and sweet school, or are you

2 hours of his all the research and here’s the reasons why or somewhere in between.


think it depends on the job and it depends on the client.

Some clients like to have all the information.

Sometimes you present to clients who is not actually in charge, so he has to

take your stuff and present it to someone else.

And so

in order for it not to get lost, you need to provide some more insights.

And sometimes the job is too complicated to have just a very simple line.

But sometimes

it can be very simple.

I’ve seen, for example, pitch deck from different agencies for the same client.

One was a very elaborate like this is our agency.

This is what we do they work for the same side in the past?

So they had a kind of reminder see what great things we have done together.

And it was

like 50 60 lights in when they came to the strategy and the creative ideas.

And then there was Weed and Kennedy and they three or four slides.


That thing to my ears.

I think they must have put a lot of effort to make this shot.

Yeah, the line, which is often attributed

to Churchill, although it could be to Lincoln or anybody.

But where he said, I apologise for delivering such a long

speech, I didn’t have time to write a short one,

which could have been anybody.

It was probably Tom says.

I don’t know, but from the writing.

The Frederic R.

Sorry for writing so long.

I didn’t have time to make a

chiefet and probably was as that sounds better than Church, at least.

But it’s true.

Four or five slide decks.

The thought, what’s been in there,

having to kill your darlings and call on the excessive and useless information

out of that and just keep it to those four or five is.

In the end, is what you make of it.

That’s the really interesting part about strategy.

So maybe the strategy itself might sound

a bit too simplistic, but when you see what you can do with it,

this might be the right way to do it, so it doesn’t need any explanation.

If you need too much explanation, it might be an indication.

That is probably not.



It’s interesting to look, if you see companies doing strategies

for themselves so they don’t really have to put a price tag on it.

It’s just something they they will work with.

It tends to be much more simple, like I won’t work for.

Partly found that ages ago.

And it was for loans, private loans and

the direction you are usually heaving.

I can out just money.

It’s about dreams, wishes, all that stuff.

And they were like, no, we exactly know why people apply for a loan.

They apply for a loan because they ran out of money.

And then the car broke down.

They need a new washing machine.

They are self employed and clients and pay them very simple stuff like that.

And if you talk about

like, hey, it’s FIFA time.

Do you want a new TV?

And you’re like,

what are you talking about? My car just broke down.

I don’t know how to go to work.

And I’m selfemployed.

My bank won’t give me alone.

So that counts is the word.

This counterproductive.

You send a message and the guys like, what are you talking about?

So they forced us to be very,

very straight and simple and say, okay, you don’t have to be explicit.

You don’t have to say

you are self employed and don’t get any money from your bank.

But give him a key that you are talking about him and he

knows what situation he’s in.

And I was saying he should be more.


not needs that higher purpose does it.

And I think sometimes ad agencies

and strategists and even creatives are sort of obsessed with moving up the

benefit ladder so that we can find this higher purpose for everything in lawns.

It has to be about joy,

Ty or live for allowing you the holiday of your dreams, an X, Y and Z.

But actually, you said sometimes you just need to get to work, because without being

able to go to work, there’s no money coming in and yeah,

bigger problems and really crisp, clear strategic thinking like that.

I love that. I

love when I go in somewhere and they show me last year’s strategy of the year

before, and they give me 60, 80, 9200 pages.

I’m like, I know I can do a job here.

That’s where I do.

Yes, I’m going to do it in another example would be Olly.

Only historically they are around since the nineties, and they started

as a way to use it came from two directions.

They have a lot of old in Sweden, they cancel public funding for old farmers,

and it’s the thing that grows under harsh conditions.

But there’s not much you can do with it.

You can feed it to horses to make coverage.

But that’s about it.

So they had to find a way to make money without.

And then came the scientist.

I can’t remember his name.

And he was like, I have an idea.

I know how to make the drink out of vote.

So this is how they got started and they

had the product, but they didn’t have a strategy.

They just had the execution and they were

like, okay, what can we would can it be a site drink?

Can it be some low calorie milk substitute?

And then then we have a milk substitute.

But they didn’t explicitly say,

in case you don’t want cannot drink milk.

So if they didn’t do that, so they changed the management and the

there’s actually a lot of information and a lot of choices in this very simple

sentence is like milk, but made for humans.

There’s a lot of great things. It’s real.

It’s so simple.

They struggle to get a trademark for it because in cost,

it’s so bloody obvious.

How do you why do you think it’s worth protecting?

But the thing is, as soon as you name it milk, you have,

you don’t have to establish a new habit.

Like, I have a new fancy drink during this.

Yeah, you change an existing habits.

You have a category which is dairy.

There is a really nice category,

because in any supermarket, it’s the category with the highest possibility.

So that works for the retailers as well.

And you have the opportunities to talk about.

Not everybody can digest milk.

It’s a huge market.

Most people don’t know, but it’s I think it’s 1015 percent

of the population and this is a very clear strategy.

You have a reason, even if you have no digestive problems, you might have.

Are there issues like, I want to save the planet?

I’m vegan.

There’s all kinds of stuff going on.

So as soon as to do clearly state this is competing with milk.

You have the product,

you have the category, you have a placement in the supermarket,

you even have a a role of strategy if you’re doing your

international roll out because we are talking about markets with a strong dairy

category, which would be more than Europe, UK,

the US now they are expanding to China because it’s so big.

It’s so much easier to tell people

if you like to drink milk and will allow you to try this.

Yeah, it’s so much child to say.

Okay, you don’t drink milk anyway,

because in Asia is I think it’s 60% of a population who can’t really digest milk.

So there’s no habits.

So consume dairy products that much to enter this market.

They do it be a star like

so I come back to its milk, but made for humans.

It sounds very simple,

but they made some very important choices to say it’s not a fit of spring.

It’s not.

It’s like porch, but made for drinking it milk.

And after that, they have a direction for their promotion.

Attack milk.

And then there’s the other chart that’s pretty famous.

The Matrix with Good versus Evil and the other access is

Scot shirtless for the fucking

seewhat they did is they directly attacked milk dairy farmers.

They got suit for in Sweden and by the EU for being

misleading consumers.

And that’s actually the strategy.

They got lots of media coverage for that.

And they repeated exactly the same thing

when they launched in the UK and then another time in the US.


there you have.

Yeah, that’s three of the four piece you have

the products you have to place, which is your distribution.

You have a promotion strategy.

And yeah, you might do some further analysis.

Like who will bias who’s a persona

that’s really details.

I wouldn’t start with that if I were only

and they didn’t do it because they didn’t have to put a price tag on this.

Yep. Floorcraft didn’t have to make a 100 pages

strategy presentation for Co to be like, yeah, okay, you’re worth your money.

So now you go ahead with a creative ideas.

There is an element to that.

And I want to come back to all and other examples of different brands in a moment.

But I think for any consultant or

freelancers listening, there is a real I’d almost call it bravery.

And maybe bravery is overcooking it

a little bit, but being brave enough to present just enough information.

I said there is often a pressure when

you’re charging a fee to present lots of work to sure that you have done

the work for the money that they’ve have given you that you’re being paired.

And actually it’s really brave to take,

I think, was I beaten Kennedy, you said to to just present four pages.

There’s a real not bravery is right.

There’s a real bravery to go

into a presentation where you are pitching from big money or you’re presenting work

that you’ve charged a lot for and to say, right.

Okay. Here’s for slides.

His bravery.

There’s some tricks you can actually avoid having it in your main presentation.

And Kennedy had an appendix.

It was pretty long and all small print to

proof that there’s been a lot of thinking going into this.


we really talked about all the details, but you’ll find them to greet it at home.

And another tactic would be you make this

big presentation and then you take 90% of it and just show.

Okay, we have it.

We’ve done the work.

But right now we are just going to talk about these four slides and then

creative stuff.

So you can you have a proof of work and

proof of efforts and then the other things you’ve destroyed it for me.

Now I’m just going to present four pages from here on a four pages is fine.

Another example

we’re talking about the Zones or Spice is very simple.

They have one insight and they

have it right on the TV when he’s addressing the audience is Hello, ladies.


it’s a very simple insight.

It’s man don’t buy their own body wash.

So they either use their wise body wash on their wife pie.

Yeah. So that’s where you and again,

it’s a very simple insight, but I think it’s the first sentence.

Hey, ladies, if you don’t want to want

your man to smell like Lady Centre body wash.

Yeah, right out of the strategy Labour.

And it doesn’t have to be more complicated.

And in this case, it really makes sense to use a persona to see.

Okay, who’s using it?

Who’s buying it?

And I don’t have to do I need a pen portrait.

Do I need to know the favourite colour?

A favourite movie, all the stuff that goes into an portrays.

I had probably not because it’s two diverse.

I love a pen portrait person work, but my absolute red line in this is

that if it’s not useful information, it doesn’t go in.

I don’t care what the favourite colour is or

how many times a week they go to a body

pump class, unless, of course, it’s for body pump.

You know, the gym membership is of no interest to me.

It’s useful information that that needs to go in there.

Yeah, but I think the I

have with the pen portrays

may get a good impression.

It’s almost like a real life person.

But the problem is you exclude all the other person if it is to

explicit like, you know what, what someone is wearing branded shoes, how

she spends her holidays and all the stuff like that.

It excludes other people.

It’s like, okay, if he was this was,

she won’t wear another one that he’s driving this part.

It’s not the other car.

And that might be a problem.

And very often it’s just made up.

So if you look at the pen portrays, it’s something like

strategist in the mid twenties has

to write a pen portray about someone my age, probably.

And he’s like, okay, how would I like to be when I’m 50 years old?

I’d like to have a cool site in London.

I’d like to drive this car.

I watched all the things I can’t fall

today, and all this goes into this pen portray.

And then you have this really cool guy who’s writing with a Mon law for a $1,000.

All that stuff and most of the time is completely irrelevant.


a bad pen portrait is terrible, I think good ones.

But I could probably say I’ve maybe only ever seen two.

Good ones. In 28 years of being in marketing,

I can think of two that I remember seeing and going.

This is really good work, and the rest of them have been

yeah, yeah.

It’s not a discipline that covers itself in glory.

Let’s put it that way.


You do it a lot.

You X when you have to,

you have to work at it comes on the journey.

Let’s say someone wants to book a journey

the holiday, but you don’t need to have details about

the person you have to think about, what situations someone is in, what’s the

decision process and you have to be honest.

And when you are honest, it’s also like, yeah, 100 people see the front page,

don’t find what they are looking for, and 95% are gone.

That’s also part of the journey.

And that’s why I don’t like the funnel, because a funnel,

a funnel assumes you put 100 people in and get 100 people out, like in the kitchen.

But it’s not the case.

You’re losing 99% along the way.

And the interesting thing is,

what do you do with the 99%?

Do you focus on the 1% so it can be useful.

But I think for generally advertising a bit too much.

I like funnels as a concept in that they

can, especially when you’re working with non marketers.

It’s a very simple concept that can help them understand that people go through

different stages when they get there, certainly for bold presentations

and things like that, and especially because they seem to live.

You know, he doesn’t matter how many times people try and kill the funnel,

it won’t die, and it still makes it into MBAs and various things.

It’s a concept that people seem to have a little bit of knowledge of.

So it’s something you can hang your hat

on and then you can talk them through how that works in their organisation.

But I do like to customise it to their customer journey a little bit.

But, you know, there’s broad concept

of look, we start here and as we move people through,

but yeah, they’re far from perfect, far from perfect.

But I’m totally with you.

It’s a nice, nice tool to work with,

but it always depends what you’re doing with it.

And just to come back to only like, what’s the funnel?

The funnest.

Most people buy milk.

So you have 100, nearly 100 per cent of the population.

Some people actually do some research on the Internet about milk.

You can see that in Google Trends.

When you see the search volume and some

even research about Olly, you can see that as well.

But then there’s a break and they’re watching TV.

They go to work all that stuff so that’s really there’s a break and then they go

shopping and then they might think about maybe not.

So you can use the tunnel.

But you have to be really precise and you have to be honest.

People do some research, but it’s not like I start with milk, I find oddly.

And then I go to the supermarket and buy it or people do.

They don’t think about it until they are

right in front of the shelf and I’m like, okay, what else do I need?

Our milk?

Yeah, it’s a very low involved purchase, isn’t it?

To put it in a basket and only found a solution for that problem as well.

They have a premium line that needs

cooling place in the dairy shop right next to the a look.

That’s the reason why you want to have a cool product.

So I don’t know how it’s likely pay,

but in Germany that we have a cone in the supermarket where we have



hardest need any cooling

out ultra long life milk and things like

that long life Manhattanthat really low interest.

You really find that margarine

long life milk, all that stuff.

And this would normally be the place where you look for both milk or any other stuff.

So they worked hard to get into the dairy shells because it has the highest

profitability of any shells, followed by frozen food and meat.

I guess it’s also one I haven’t done much

with supermarkets for a few years, but the dairy aisle is also one

of the highest footfall areas of a supermarket as well, isn’t it?

I think, because it’s the one thing people come and get in there.

If they shop weekly, they go to that.

I’ll always if they’re coming in just for a few items.

It’s usually the dairy aisle because it

has a lifespan and you have to keep replacing it regularly.

So it’s one of the highest footfall areas in supermarkets, I think.

But this is a few years ago when I saw that research.

But a place in the case,

I don’t know,

embersthe most traffic

category of anything in the supermarket because everybody buy something there

that may be cheese smoke and stuff like that, and you can see it.

We have a very strong habit of dairy

consumption, so everybody is going to be there.


this is profitability is how they calculate what’s, what’s going on,

the shape and what’s not it’s not margin or stuff like that.

You can live with a very low margin if its product has a very high son over a profit

may be higher, and the margin doesn’t really matter so much, because

when you have to pay for your products

usually have sold them anyway.

It’s just cash.

In case.

You mentioned a few things about honesty

in the last few minutes, and you mentioned cars a few times in some

of your answers, which I’m going to use as a nice little segue to talk about

the automotive sector, and particularly through maybe the lines

of brand promise or brand purpose and things like that.

I think you have some good thoughts on how

companies maybe set these things open strategic sessions.

Maybe we have a great run purpose, but how that actually works on the ground

when it’s executed and to talk about that in any way.

And I think I won’t mention the brand.

So it’s a more open about what we did there.

The project was an evaluation and optimization of partner

marketing programme, which means marketing directed towards the retailers

on behalf of these retailers.

And some stuff retailers can use for their and consumers.

So that’s the context and what we did is

we looked into everything they did, which was quite complex because you have

different audiences and different activities going on.

It was all about after market sales

and service, which is where they make their money.

And it used to be printing money when you work sight for your

original paths and stuff like that.

But you EU regulation change to that.

So it’s basically a free market.

And now you have competition and you want to get this piece of the cake,

which is where like I said, where you’re actually on your money,

its after market, its service inspection of this stuff.

This certain client was commercial

vehicle, so they have a little different, different audience.

It’s like people using cost

professionally, which means you use them to carry fish from a B.

Yeah. And started off as a project where we

the evaluation.

And then we were at the point where we said, okay, we have to talk retailers,

we have to talk to yourself, raps and to get an idea of what they are doing,

what the customers expect from them, all the stuff.

We also did some in person interviews

with some retailers, and one was like, okay, let me start with a story.

And then you can do your interview.

And he told the story about a

customer who had a custom build car with a how do you say cool box?

Yeah, a refrigerator at a track.

He was

like, two tonnes of fish, let’s say.

And this car broke down.

So he has two problems. My car broke down.

And what about the fish?

And he was close to the factory.

So it’s like, yeah, good luck.

I’m driving to factory and they wouldn’t

help them because it was accustomed to the car

and our customer vehicle.

And so he had to call a competitor.

They showed up within ten minutes.

They had a replacement

vehicle for the cool box, and they told him to her to have his car repair.

And the retail was like, okay, what am I going to tell my customers?

If this is your idea of service, this is the reality.

And there’s no way

advertising can do anything about it.


talking about honesty,

it was and bravery

that went into the presentation.

And some of the guys in the presentation already knew the story.

They were with us

on the interview and some really like, can it be,

babysometimes, you have to accept that you

can’t change the world with advertising alone.

There. If you have a brand promise,

like we have the best service for your commercial vehicle, you have to deliver.

Yes. And

especially when you have a competitor who does exactly that.

We design complete thing around the needs of office commercial clients.

And usually the special situation when you

have a commercial because it’s not, they don’t really break down.

You don’t really have accidents or stuff like that.

But the problem is if you have it’s, not the car.

That’s the problem. It’s what’s inside the car.

Obviously it’s fish, it’s neat, it’s

sometimes you have a special build.

If you are a plumber, for example, all kinds of stuff in there, she

sometimes a generator for electric that stuff.

So if you have a replacement car,

that doesn’t all this to simply kind of work and that’s a bigger impact.

So this is something.

And advertising only makes it worse

because you give a promise and people know the reality.

They walk up to the next retailer and they

see, okay, it’s not 24 hours, seven days a week.

It’s like they have a midday break.

They still have it in Southern Germany, Northern Germany.

Not that much.

But it happens that you walk to a shop in Southern Germany and its use

the you get away with that.

Do you think this is a problem in bigger companies? Because there’s such

a a gap between where the strategy is made and how it’s delivered and in any big

company, when you have tens of thousands of employees or franchises

and partnerships and things like that, it’s difficult to embed that purpose

throughout the business. Or is it just that nobody talks

to the organisation? Is it an operational thing or is it just that the strategy

and these things have done somewhere by people who never get the hands dirty?



sometimes it might be silos.

Sometimes it might be

just a bad strategy and a sense

you don’t face reality.

You just make things up.


you take a product and no way.

This is


Let’s start another way is you don’t have to make all these bold

claims, but you’d like to make it, make them

really want these claims on your advertising.

Maybe it’s the agency, maybe it’s declined

themselves and there’s no need to make them.

But as soon as they are out there, people start to take them seriously

and they look at the product and see, oh, that’s.

So I

think you always have to have this in mind.

Is this really the best product?

Can it deliver on this promise? Yeah.

Can we find another way to sell it? Yeah.

And that’s it, I think.

And we’re back to where we started.

Strategy and execution have to work hand in hand, because if they’re not,

you start making promises that the organisation can never deliver.

And as you said, advertising just makes it worse because you keep making the promise

and you keep failing to deliver it so you actually perpetuate the issue.

So I think we’ve come full circle and got

back to the beginning, which seems like a good point if you’re

watching this podcast on YouTube, which I know some people do, you’re probably not.

These two things. Firstly, were both wearing a tie.

I rarely wear a tie, rarely seen in a tie.

But when you read Aris’ bio on the show notes

you’ll see that he never leaves home without a tie.

So I thought I better

change doing pandemic change, but yeah, really not.

So I thought I’d smarten up a little bit for today.

But the second thing you notice is that Aris

has one of the most amazing book collections and bookshelves behind him.

Now part of the reason is that I think you came into advertising and marketing

through a very different route, maybe to what the classic route could be.

Can we talk about your background?

And maybe that will explain why the bookshelves are full of amazing things.

So first of all, these are not online.

Take the credit.

I actually further down

some there as well.


it’s a long story.

When I finished school, I didn’t know what to do and I didn’t have

to go to the army because of some health issues.

And so I had to make a quick decision.


at that time I thought it was a good idea

to study classical guitar, become a soloist.


after some years I realised this will not work.

It’s a horrible realisation.

It’s like, yeah, it’s even worse than

aspiring to become a famous football because the 20 teams with 20 players.

So it’s 400 and the Premier League classical guitar.

Most people couldn’t even name one.

I’ve always been interested in photography and stuff like that.

So I decided to change parts.

And I started a small publishing house in Hamburg as a photographer.

And then they realised we might be able to teach him some writing.

So we going to say some money when we send me somewhere.

I did that for some years.

And it was a really small place with magazines, mostly about sports like

skateboarding, snowboarding and stuff like that.


so there was a lot of room

for experimentation, started to do some art direction.

And the last position I had was editor in chief, an art director.

From that I

moved to Universal with a colleague.

It still editorial stuff, but online.

So that’s when I came in contact

with computers and online professionally, as you’ve done before.

But and yeah, after that, Universal moved to build in.

I didn’t want to move to building.

So I stayed in Hamburg and switched again and was looking for a job.

And I was like, okay, why not try adding

my first agency or the first agency I work for had some to be clients.

We were doing a lot of magazines, but also classical advertising.

So I start with the editorial stuff where it came from.

And then

move towards classical copywriting.

And I’ve always been the type of guy to ask all these white questions.

So if you have a brief, I was always like, okay, don’t tell me the task.

Tell me what we want to achieve.

So we might find a better way.


that’s not how I

things evolved into strategy.


next stage was

digital stuff.

And that was at an agency that didn’t really have a strategy department.

So you have to be your own strategist.

And when you’re doing, like,

website platforms, integrated campaigns, things become more and more complicated.

And that’s how I started to do strategy first for myself

because I needed some kind of plan to do my job.

And then it became more and more strategy focus.

But I still did a lot of stuff, like doing all the consumer journeys.

That’s my background and that different background.

Classical guitar is probably the first person who studied classic guitar.

And you also studied English and German literature as well did that that sort

of different background into working in strategy and advertising.

Do you think that helped give you a different perspective to maybe somebody

who’s just come up through the agency model?

Yeah, I think

I really did learn some things for my second life,

so to say.

You learn a lot about professionalism and the kind of “genius”.

And you become very humble.

If you work with professional musicians, it’s all about… It’s some talent,

of course, but it’s a lot of hard work, and it’s a different approach to this

genius versus professionalism workmanship.

All that stuff.

So it’s not about

doing something to you get it right.

It’s doing something so you can’t get it wrong.

It’s not how it’s not the “I’m having a good day and I’m doing brilliant stuff.”

That’s a bit of luck involved.

I’m having a bad day and I’m still doing okay.

I love that. Love it.

And, yeah, that’s one thing.

And you’re becoming more humble.

I’ve met a lot of great musicians, Leonard Bernstein, and it’s not that easy.

You don’t call people.

You don’t.

You are not that – how you say – it’s not

that easy to call something brilliant or genius or something

if you’ve met Leonard Bernstein. So you know he is a genius and then what we do is advertising.

That’s the clip I’m using in the promotion.

A Summer University at the College of Music, and everybody eats together.

So that’s where I met him.

He came with his tray and he was like, “is this place free?”.

“Okay, I’m Leonard.”

Brilliant. Brilliant.

Honestly, that’s been used in a promo. It’s hard to call.

It is just advertising.

Another thing you learn is

the better people are what they do, the more humble they are.

They are always nice people.

So the mad genius throwing things screaming around as we

I’ve made it one, one, twice, maybe, but not really.

We’re coming towards the end of the

interview, which brings us to the usual questions.

Now, I know

there’s a number of books that you’ve talked about.

And we’ve got a list in the Shore,

not of group books that people should look at one or two from that list of books

that you would recommend and the ones that you always come back to.

What are your favourites from that?

There’s two very old fashioned.

It’s more about the guys than about the books.

It’s oily and Gossage because they were so different.

And I think when you read something about advertising, your notice after the third

of four book, it’s more or less always the same.

So if you’ve read out or Gossage Cottage

is a bit different because it’s not the typical advertising guy.

But you learn a lot about advertising is really old school

way before the Internet, but it’s very interesting.

And Garage, for example, was pretty honest guy.

He did advertising for Petrol station was what do you expect me to do?

People see the ad and they drive miles

to buy your patrol, which is exactly like the Petro they get anywhere else.

So that’s pretty interesting.

And I think I always recommend these

because they are at least better written than most of what you can find today.

And then there’s

just in case you can’t find the book of Gossage.

There’s a book Dharrison about Gossage.

So that’s really interesting too.

You can watch Madman.

Madman teaches a lot about advertising

because all the cases they show, it’s real advertising from GDV.


Most of the campaigns they show and the

that are the science of Don Draper actually created by women.

Which is

it’s true that there’s a lot of women,

a lot more women involved in advertising in the past.

You are a Backman and the Sixties.

It was among copywriters.

I guess there was 50%.

They’ve died, had a series about the women who built CDPand, all the stuff

you Se and Madman.

It’s real campaigns made by DDB

and created by female copyrighted will put a link to that in the show.

Not as well.

I think you’ve shared some of the things on LinkedIn before for thank you.

So if you’re listening, Cheque, the show notes wherever you listening

and the links to all these in there that you can click and have a read around.

I do like it when we get classic books and all the books as recommendations,

because I think sometimes there’s a lot of talk of the world’s changing.

Marketing is changing.

Advertising is changing, but when you study a lot, it’s still broadly the same.

Right. Maybe some of the tactical implementation

have changed, but the principles of the discipline the same as they ever were.

I think yeah, it changes a bit, but

I think yeah, as you said, the principles are more or less the same.

You have to sell the new stuff.

So let’s write a book.


in a way, if you’ve read Ogilvy or some other stuff.

And this is really true for most of the stuff that’s written about advertising.

Most of the books are quite okay.

And you get the picture of how it works.

And if you like me something about

my space or to square all square in my space.

For the younger listeners, you’ll have to ask a grandad what they


I remember all I like.

You attack today and it’s gone tomorrow, but the principle is the same.

It’s great stuff. One last question for you is a question I ask everybody,

what one question do you usually get asked that I haven’t asked you today?

I can’t think of any.


Usually means I’ve done.

We’ve done such a superb job

with the interview in the discussion that we’ve covered all the graph.

You send me this question, actually, and I thought about it and it would be unfair.

Come up with a question you didn’t ask before we did the podcast.

That’s not a problem.

No problem.

Where is the best place for people

who want to get in such with you or follow you?

Is it linked in?

Is that the best place to be there will be Linked and I don’t have a website.

I don’t. I have some other profits,

but on Facebook only share photos with other owners of Crackistan Soul

teething pride.

But I think I wouldn’t even find me on says.

Yeah, it’s only many LinkedIn list.

What you’ll probably get now is a lot of LinkedIn requests with people asking,

Can I follow you on Facebook to see the cockerspaniel picture?

Actually, I’ve been quite an access

for a while because, yeah, my dog has some health issues and I

got a little bit bored with it, but I’m post more frequently in the future.


And there’s a link again to Ari’s LinkedIn profile in the show.

Not click on that.

And as I say, Ilove the insight.

I love the thoughts. And I love the discussion in the debate

that you generate, which all comes from a great place,

which you can’t say about everybody on LinkedIn.

So I thank you for that.

And I look forward to engaging

in the future on LinkedIn and hopefully in person one day as well.


So I thank you very much for coming.

Understand you having me and she’ll hopefully meet again.

It’s important in the future. Yep.

That will be nice.