Q&A WITH FALK EUMANN, CO-FOUNDER & CREATIVE DIRECTOR AT CAVIAR DIGITAL.
Falk Florian Eumann is the co-founder and award-winning Creative Director of Caviar Digital, the interactive branch of Caviar Content. These days he spends his time between Amsterdam and Los Angeles, where he recently relocated to the über-hipster neighborhood of Silver Lake. Falk insists he was wearing plaid shirts way before moving there. “Spending the whole day coming up with stuff while sniffing marker pens got me totally hooked”, he says.
Why did you decide to get into advertising?
I was always fascinated by advertising. When I was around 14, I told my parents that the only thing I wanted was to work in advertising. In an attempt to cure me of that disturbed thought, they arranged a 2-week internship for me at a big German advertising agency in Düsseldorf. Unfortunately, that didn’t work out for them. I came back wanting to become an Art Director. Spending the whole day coming up with stuff while sniffing marker pens got me totally hooked. I will never forget when my dad took me to see a movie and my first ad came onto the screen. The whole cinema laughed. I was so proud.
What would you say is Caviar Digital’s main strength?
We love stories as much as we love technology. And then there’s the people behind it. The digital team, both in Los Angeles and Europe – is an inspiring mix of characters from all nationalities and trades. We are kind of the United Colours of Nerd.
What’s the coolest project you’ve been involved in?
One of them would probably be the ‘Marriage Equality Campaign’ we were working on with our former creative agency Falk & Sun’s for the Cities of Amsterdam and New York. We were just a handful of people back then and we did everything ourselves, from the first campaign visual to digital activation and event executions. It was so unique to experience such emotional feedback on a campaign. Probably because this was literally life-changing for the thousands of people that lined the streets of New York. From our recent work with Caviar/digital, I really loved working on FiLIP’s ‘Best Day Ever’ with Leo Burnett, New York. I specifically loved this project because it was a truly integrated challenge. Together with the agency creatives, the director & digital, we collaborated on everything from the initial designs to the final interactive product.
What was your worst job?
Ask me for my worst projects in advertising (or clients) – I could probably fill a book. I did have one ‘worst job’ inside advertising though – working as a layouter (read: slave) for a big German agency in the nineties. This was the closest you could get to working in a sweat shop. What I learned from it? Watch your fingers when you work with a scalpel.
Is there something you hate (or don’t like) about advertising?
What I hate most about it is probably what I also love about it. There’s never enough time for anything. But as they say in Germany ‘Unter Druck entstehen Diamanten’ (Pressure creates diamonds)
What is your favourite ad ever? Why?
That’s nearly impossible to answer. W+K’s “Grrr” for Honda? The Economist’s print campaigns? Actually – I think one of the most innovative campaigns of its time was the launch of BMW’s short film series “THE HIRE” in 2001. Together with directors of the calibre of John Frankenheimer, Ang Lee, Wong Kar-wai, Guy Ritchie, Alejandro González Iñárritu, John Woo, Joe Carnahan & Tony Scott, BMW produced it exclusively for the web. That was just amazing. If you haven’t seen it – watch it.
Do you have any creative heroes?
There’s a lot of people I strongly respect – a lot of them outside of the industry. David Fincher might be the closest one to advertising. I also admire the work of Dieter Rams, Richard Neutra and Stefan Sagmeister.
What was the last cultural event that really impressed you?
Haha. Probably UBER and Airbnb. My life has been pretty chaotic this year and without those two I would have literally gotten nowhere. It’s a shame they are trying to ban it in Germany. And I loved Pharell’s “24 hours of happy”. Like everyone else. Oh – and Daft Punk with him, Nile Rodgers and Stevie Wonder at the Grammy’s.
Do you recognise any trends in digital advertising? What’s the next big thing?
Right now probably everyone is itching to get their hands on the Apple Watch – a big leap towards wearable tech. Those smart guys at Apple realised once again that you have to make people look good with your products to succeed. Technology changes constantly but people will always enjoy good stories and products created with care.
You’ve probably been in Berlin many times before. Any insider’s tip you’d like to share with us?
Walk until you drop and get lost in the neighbourhoods. Eat Currywurst. Don’t do selfies at the Holocaust Monument. And yes: that piece of Berlin Wall you will buy is fake. I love Berlin. Germans are nice people. Obviously. 😉