In this week’s ’10 minutes with’, Olivia Dotzek chats about how languages brought her to advertising, her admiration for an “unflinching” campaign and the way journalism helps her to “cut through” the noise
How did you get into the advertising industry?
In my final year of university, I really had no idea what I wanted to do. I was a modern languages student and keen to do something international, so attended a careers panel called ‘Careers Using Languages’.
One of the speakers worked for OMD EMEA on the Apple account and spoke about working with teams across many markets to launch global brand campaigns. I was sold and applied once I graduated.
What is your proudest career highlight?
Last year I worked on a project to get Havas to be the first agency network to join the Conscious Advertising Network, a coalition of different organisations that ensures ethics catches up with the technology of modern advertising.
They do great work in giving advertisers and agencies the tools and frameworks to put out advertising that is not only effective, but the best that it can be in terms of the societal impact. Joining them and helping to champion that cause internally and beyond our agency has been really important to me.
What ad campaign or person do you admire most? (Other than your own campaigns!)
I think the Bodyform work over the last few years has been an incredible example of the power that advertising can have. They’ve been unflinching in their purpose, effectively dismantling taboos and empowering women through their storytelling.
As a challenger brand, they’ve also found ways to execute in meaningful and creative ways to gain attention, rather than trying to compete on pure spend, which I find inspiring from a media perspective.
Best piece of advice you’ve received?
I was told not too long ago you should lean into what you’re afraid of, because fear is the edge of growth. I like it because I find it applies professionally and personally. I think I often let fear hold me back from things, and it’s helped me to reframe it in a way that feels manageable and even motivating.
Why does advertising matter?
In a macro sense, I think what advertising says and shows matters because it can shape the way we see and understand the world (like the Bodyform example). Where advertising shows up matters because it funds, and democratises access to, the media that matters to people.
Conscious decisions have to be made by advertisers regarding both of those elements to ensure advertising continues to matter.
What’s your favourite ad campaign featured in news brands?
It’s a few years old now, but the KFC “FCK” chicken shortage campaign was brilliant. Playing on the legacy of brands relying on the credible context of print in times of crisis, while giving it their own humourous spin to deliver an on-brand and effective apology.
You’re a journalist for a day: what would you cover?
I wanted to be a music journalist when I was younger, so I’d probably choose to cover a day at Glastonbury.
How does journalism matter to you?
There’s so much noise these days, the way we receive information is totally overwhelming and often unreliable or biased by our circumstances. Journalism is important to me in being a trusted source of information I can rely on to cut through that.
Who or what is your biggest inspiration?
Cliched, but definitely my mum.
Who are your fantasy dinner party guests?
Michaela Coel, Louis Theroux, RuPaul and Stevie Nicks.
How do you switch off from work?
I got really into baking sourdough bread (like most other people) as a way to switch off during lockdown, and it seems to have stuck.
If you weren’t in the advertising industry, you would be…?
… an owner of an independent bakery?!
Gym or gin?
Probably a run and then wine.