Interview “Reclameweek” with Ruby Lemm

reklameweek_ruby_22_12_04Read the full interview in English:

“Good communication is like jamming”

With twenty years of office experience Ruby Lemm dares the leap into entrepreneurship by joining Skipintro, Hans van Dijk and Yacco Vijn, as managing partner. Her mission: “We will work for Brands with a story.”

“The change to Skipintro is part of my current phase of life”, says Ruby Lemm. “You’re passed forty and in search of more personal development. Men buy a Harley at that age. A fresh and independent start is very demanding, helps you to discover different things and lets you put your creativity to use optimally. Enterprising fits the will to realize oneself.”

Lemm met Hans van Dijk from Skipintro in the board of Sire. “I find him a very inspiring man and it turned out we had the same vision.” By origin Skipintro is focused on interactive advertising and together the two want to head into new directions. They don’t want to be the umpteenth agency to advertise crackers but to keep their focus on more profound establishments. “We like working for brands with a story. Entertainment, culture, music and publishers are areas of which I get the impression that communication could be more professional. Their thinking in marketing terms is still not very developed so there is still a lot of benefit to be gained there. And because of the increasing difficulties of that kind of company, they are starting to realise that they have to approach the matter in a commercial way. The budgets are without a doubt tighter than what I am used to but that’s what makes space for creative solutions. Apart from which all three of us prefer making an effort for this kind of company, as this is where our personal interest goes. That applies to Hans and to Yacco, who originates from the music business, as well as to me.

Lemm has a distinct view on the advertising business and its people: “I think we from the business could be a little more modest from time to time. If you compare our work to, for instance, medical research that does put things a little into perspective.”

Lemm hopes the business will start gaining content. “Years ago I said: it’s not about what you communicate but how you do it. I’ve turned my back on that one. Consumers look right through it. They’re about the story, the content. More and more companies are chosen that do not only deliver their merchandise but also make a statement toward society. Comforting advertising works well but next to that, the sober Dutchman wants a message.”

This profundity that Lemm would like to see back in advertising, is in her opinion connected to the development of people’s private lives. Even though account functions are on the whole not considered creative, Lemm, for years Services Director at DDB, has a completely different outlook on that: “Everyone in the business has to be creative.” And, according to Lemm, more inspiration should be sought out. “I stand amazed at times how few advertising people go to the museum. On the whole I think people in our branch should have a broad interest in things, especially the creative ones: if they look at art more often they might just come up with even better ideas.”

To make “art” oneself has an even more important function. “By playing the piano, for instance, you experience your own creativity. In this basically practical business it has an enriching effect, to every once in a while use the other half of your brain. It helped me to develop my intuition. It sees to recognising and anticipating creativity more than rationally regarding it.”

Lemm learned a lot from her jam sessions. “You can compare the experience of commonly improvising to a good conversation or client presentation. Good communication is like jamming. First of all you have to listen carefully and if you react well an idea emerges from that. To not support each other in a conversation or to not give each other space to talk leads to chaos. Nothing happens, it’s as if all musicians were getting going at the same time. Making music definitely helped me in my line of work. Music, art, design, fashion, literature and shopping of course - these are the fun things, this is what it’s about.”

Ruby Lemm is in advertising since twenty years. According to her the interesting period began at DMB&B, which turned into d’Arcy and then merged with Leo Burnett. During eight years she worked there for, among others, ING Bank and NS. Next was DDB where she handled McDonalds, VW, and Zilveren Kruis/Achmea during another approximately eight years with an intermission of more or less one year at Publicis. There, however, her expectations were not fulfilled. “The French culture hindered that. It does remain a men’s culture.” After a year she got homesick and returned to DDB. In January she starts at Skipintro.