Meet: Frank Bodin, Chairman and CEO of Havas Zurich/Geneve

“Everybody needs creativity.”

After studying music and law, Frank Bodin’s creative mindset led to a love affair with the advertising industry. Frank is now CEO of Havas Switzerland, with agencies in Zurich and Geneva. He also serves as president of the Art Directors Club Switzerland, as well as a member of Havas’s Global Creative Council.

In a recent conversation with Frank, we learned more about the evolution of his creative career and the seven questions we should all ask to identify great work.

Read the full interview below.

13091942_10207232783432679_3527581465447887387_n (1)

The Mag: Tell us about your background. How did you get where you are today?

FB: I studied piano and composition at the Zurich Conservatory. I gave concerts and worked as stage director for opera houses. At that time, I never noticed advertising. Then a woman came into my life who worked in the most creative advertising agency in Switzerland. When I saw their work, I thought, I can do that even better. I asked for a chance to show them my creativity as a freelance copywriter: My first ad (for a Grand Hotel) was an immediate success and awarded by the Art Directors Club of Switzerland. That was the beginning of a career-long fascination.


The Mag:  Any tips for encouraging collaboration among creative teams?

FB: A strong interdisciplinary agency culture is fundamental. And this starts with the behavior, the energy, and the will of the management.


The Mag: What does it take to win at Cannes?

FB: 80% excellent work, 10% lobbying before, 10% luck.


The Mag: How do you define great creative work?

FB: If you can answer the following seven questions with “yes,” then you will have great work: 1. Does it make sense? 2. Is it a surprising and fresh idea? 3. Is it crafted excellently? 4. Does it affect people? 5. Will people share it? 6. Does it activate people and the brand? 7. Does it set an example?


The Mag: How have you evolved creatively over the years?

FB: From advertising to “usevertising.” “Usevertising” is not only communicating the added value of a product or a service, but is itself added value, either by informing or entertaining the consumer. With digitalization begins a new area of creativity.


The Mag: What inspires you creatively?

FB: Faced with my new Twitter account in 2011, I decided to conduct an experiment: Each day, I would compose a thought on creativity, together with a growing community. The response was huge. But because the web is short-lived, the 100 best crowd-sourced thoughts are now gathered in a small red leather-bound volume, issued by the publisher Hermann Schmidt in Germany. Its title is “Do it, with love – 100 Creative Essentials.”

No matter if you’re a manager or a designer, a scientist or an architect, a teacher or a salesman, a software engineer or a couturier, an engineer or an artist: everybody needs creativity. “Do it, with love” is a book for people who are creative or want to become creative. A motivating book. A book for everyone.