Young Guns: Ogilvy creative duo Karsten Jurkschat and Alex Little

Rachael Micallef
By Rachael Micallef | 31 May 2016

Our Young Guns profile takes a weekly look at some of the young talent aged 30 or under across the advertising, ad tech, marketing and media sector in Australia. It aims to shed light on the varying roles, people and companies across the buzzing industry. Last week we spoke to MediaCom group digital director, Sam Russell.

This week, we head to Melbourne to meet art director Karsten Jurkschat and copywriter Alex Little from Ogilvy Melbourne.

How long have you been in the industry? 

About five Prime Ministers worth, so not long.

Duration in current role/time at the company:

Karsten: Three years at Ogilvy

Alex: One at Ogilvy.

What were you doing before this job and how did you get this gig?

Alex: A friend got in touch and mentioned Ogilvy was looking and that a guy with a German sounding name needed a partner.

Karsten: Before Ogilvy I was freelance designing by night and surfing whenever I could by day. I got the job after I met someone at a Phillip Island pub who put a word in for me at Ogilvy.

Define your job in one word:

Hustle.

What were your real and cliché expectations of working in the industry?

Thought there would be more beanbags.

How does the reality match up? 

There’s a couple.

How would you describe what the company does and what does your role involve?

The sign on our agency wall says, ‘We Make Brands Matter’. Which is a nice way to describe what we try and do every day. We work with brands and to create stuff that people care about.

Best thing about the industry you work in:

It always comes back to the work. No amount of smooth talking or networking can trump it.

Any major learnings in the job so far?

Ask for help. Most people have already made the mistakes you’re about to and will be happy to steer you in the right direction – usually it’s away from things like exclamation marks!

If you had to switch over to another department, which would it be and why?

Alex: Office Manager. It’s good honest work and I’ve had my eye on a new keyboard for several weeks now.

Karsten: I’d move to the #socialteam so I can learn how to take my Instagram feed @karsten_ to influencer level.

What's exciting you about the industry right now? 

The startup culture is forcing agencies to evolve beyond just ads into products, games, apps, even TV shows. Which makes our job harder, but way more interesting.

What concerns you about the industry and its future?

Young people hate ads. Like really, really dislike being sold to. But for some reason social briefs are given more freedom to disguise the sales-y bit and entertain instead. It would be nice to see that empathy spread evenly across other media.

Who's your right hand person/who guides you day to day?

Probably the entire creative department. They older guys give us brutally honest feedback when we need it, and the younger guys keep us looking over our shoulder.

And your almighty mentor that you hope to dethrone?

Karsten: LeBron James. I reckon I could take him one-on-one given a chance. Plus, TV adds 2 feet. Everyone knows that.

Alex: Louis CK. Crazy worth ethic. After every tour he forces himself to throw out every joke except his closing bit. Then he uses it to start writing a whole new hour.

Career-wise, where do you see yourself in 2020 and how do you plan on getting there?

Alex: Senior office manager

Karsten: 60,000+ Instagram followers

What is the elephant in the room?

Sites like Kickstarter have made it easier for anyone to get their idea funded, made and onto the market. It’s going to get harder for agencies to convince people to give their ideas away.

Where do you turn for inspiration?

Karsten: I stare blankly at my screen. YouTube screen that is.

Alex: I look over his shoulder.

Tell us one thing people at work don’t know about you?

Karsten: I only like three types of music: Country & Western & Taylor Swift.

Alex: You can’t beat the Bachelor for quality free-to-air viewing. Plus, Sam and Snez just look so happy together don’t you think?

Favourite ad is:

There’s never just one. We really love Droga5’s Ecko Unltd. Still Free. It’s one of the first viral videos and it changed the game.

More recently, the NAB Break Up, Project Rebrief and What3Words are pretty darn special.

What’s your personal motto?

Long live the hustle.

I got into advertising because:

Coming up with ideas for a living sounded pretty good.

If I wasn't doing this for a living, I'd be:

Karsten: Photography would be cool.

Alex: In a television writers' room. Or a carpenter. Or building the table for a television writers' room.

Interested in taking part of Adnews Young Gun profile? Or have someone you want to nominate? Email adnews@yaffa.com.au

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