Today, we have the pleasure of passing the mic' to Susanne Ingemann, journalist at Denmark's renowned trade media, Markedsføring. She brings a unique perspective on the impact of her profession on her role as a juror, shares captivating campaigns that left a mark, and offers valuable career insights. Dive in.
How did you get started in journalism, and what led you to specialise in marketing?
I spent my first years after high school at university at what was then called the Aarhus School of Business and Social Science. Great years, which gave me wonderful friends and a lot of knowledge (in French) about law, technology, commercial theories etc. I ended up becoming a certified translator & interpreter and worked for a while as such on a freelance basis. Later I got sort of bored by the translation part and felt like writing myself. After a couple of years in the furniture sales business, being responsible for France and Belgium, I signed up for an entrance exam to study at The Danish School of Journalism. I passed in 1990, loved it, met my husband there – and the rest is history, as they say …
Can you talk about your role at Markedsføring and the kind of stories you typically cover?
I belong to a tiny editorial group of four, one being my editor. So all four of us are kind of ‘jacks of all trades’. That said, my editor and two other colleagues are male and close to a generation younger than me, so I think it’s safe to say that I cover way more stories on classic advertising, campaigns, branding and awards than stories on cookies, first part data, digital performance marketing and the European Digital Services Act. Keeping up with the digital aspects of the industry is essential, though, so I try to learn – with very competent and very patient support and sparring from my editor and colleagues.
How does your journalistic perspective influence your role as a jury member?
I hope that my journalistic perspective and many years of experience of covering ads and campaigns from all over the world will allow me to evaluate the ideas behind the creative executions in a broader societal and cultural context. I believe that I can look at the ideas and the executions from a more objective angle - not being commercially connected to neither brands nor agencies.
What are the most memorable campaigns or creative projects you've covered and what made them stand out for you?
Hard question. Long answer. From a Danish perspective and in recent years one of my favourites must be Agency & Co.’s “Helmet has always been a good idea” made for The Danish Road Safety Council. The humour is utterly irresistible, and more important so were the results: The campaign actually made more Danes buy and wear a bicycle helmet. Another one, I will always carry with me, is Virtues Grand Prix-winning case ‘Backup Ukraine’. The idea is out of this world, the purpose is crystal clear and the cultural context of course completely heartbreaking.
Internationally I’ve covered many brilliant campaigns, so the choice is hard, but two still give me goosebumps. One is Dove's “Real Beauty Sketches” from Ogilvy São Paulo, Brazil from 2013. That case, and that film - where an FBI-trained forensic artist drew pictures of women based on their own view of themselves – and on other’s - had me head over heels. It was 10 years ago, the strategy and execution was groundbreaking and I still tear up when I watch it.
In recent years I think the campaign “The Lost Class” from the ‘Change the Ref’ movement by Leo Burnett in Chicago is among those which have impressed me the most. The movement was founded by a couple whose son, Joaquin, lost his life in a school shooting in 2018 in Florida. And in the campaign together with the agency they made a former NRA-boss speak to ‘graduate students’ at a fictitious ‘James Madison Academy’. The man talked to 3.044 empty chairs. Each chair represented teens who died from gun violence the year before. That work can still make my cry.
I believe that I can look at the ideas and the executions from a more objective angle - not being commercially connected to neither brands nor agencies.
Always remember you are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem and smarter than you think
Who are your role models or mentors in journalism and the creative world? And what’s the best piece of career advice you’ve ever been given?
In journalism there are two: My former editor, Andreas, and my editor since January, Ole. Both young guys, tremendously bright and ambitious on behalf of their media. And at the same time extremely empathetic. It might sound completely ridiculous, but I actually don’t think I’ve ever learned so much, had such constructive feedback - or felt so appreciated in my work as I have since they took over the editorial steering wheel at Markedsføring. If they represent a new generation of leadership and integrity in journalism in Denmark, the future looks bright. But please don’t tell them – they’ll just start bragging
In the creative world it must be Fernando Machado, former Burger King and Activision Blizzard CMO. That guy has been behind some of the most brilliant advertising ever, aforementioned Dove “Real Beauty Sketches”, and Burger King’s “Moldy Whopper” being just a few of them. I had the honour and the pleasure of interviewing him in Denmark about a year ago. I was completely star struck, which was really stupid of me, because he was seriously the kindest person you could ever imagine. Today he’s at NotCo, disrupting food and beverage segments including dairy, eggs, and meat. I still follow him.
My best career advice, I got from Winnie the Pooh …: “Always remember you are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem and smarter than you think.” Amen to that.
What do you enjoy doing outside of your journalistic work?
I read a lot of books, do a bit of digital gaming, love good food and wine and enjoy spending time with friends and family – in particular my two grown up kids of 26 and 22. See them far too rarely, though. Ok, yes, I know it’s my own calendar, too … Years back I loved horseback riding and tennis, but a couple of years back I fell in love with mini triathlons. Unfortunately my yearly competition closed, and so did my motivation and training schedule. My knees don’t like the running-part anymore, but I’ve promised myself to take up swimming and biking again.