2 Minutes With ... Matthieu Elkaim, Chief Creative Officer of Ogilvy Paris

His creative picks, from Tiji to 'I AM TRASH'

Photo illustration by Ashley Epping

Matthieu Elkaim joined Ogilvy Paris as chief creative officer in the fall of 2018, after seven years at BBDO. He's won countless international awards for his work on brands including Volkswagen, PlayStation, Nike, Pedigree, Mercedes-Benz and Ubisoft.

We spent two minutes with Elkaim to learn more about his background, his favorite artists, and what he'd be doing if he weren't in advertising. 

Matthieu, tell us...

The town where you were born.

Noisy-le-Grand, Seine Saint Denis, on the outskirts of Paris. 

What you wanted to be when you grew up. 

Ophthalmologist, due to a serious eye accident when I was young. 

How you discovered you were creative. 

At school. I spent more time clowning than studying.

A person you idolized creatively growing up.

Believe me or not, I never idolized anyone. 

A moment from high school or college that changed your life. 

When I started to practice rock climbing. This sport literally changed my life.  

The first concert you saw, and your favorite band or musician today.

Rod Stewart. Can't explain why. But I have a great memory of the show. My favorite musician today is certainly Moondog. 

Your favorite artist.

My children.

Your favorite hero or heroine in fiction. 

Tony Soprano.

The best book you've read lately. 

The Song Machine: Inside the Hit Factory, by John Seabrook. 

Your favorite movie. 

Taxi Driver.

Your favorite creative project you've ever worked on, and why.

A commercial for a French TV channel for kids ages 3-6 called Tiji, eight years ago. At this time, it was pretty rare to make an animated film for a commercial. The concept was clever and the script very rich, inspired by every kid around the world. It was a very collaborative project. Pierrette, my AD at this time, drew the main character. A good friend composed the music; it was the first time he worked for the ad industry. 

Wanda Production proposed that we collaborate with a young, talented director who had done almost nothing before this film: Yoann Lemoine. Yoann is now best known as Woodkid. What a career! It was a bet. But a fantastic one. The film was a huge success in France and had a beautiful career in the award shows. I really like to watch it again, eight years later. The good thing with animated movies is they don't get old. 

Tiji "Balloons" by Yoann Lemoine
Your favorite creative project from the past year, and why.

We created and launched a fragrance in collaboration with Etat Libre d'Orange, a luxury French brand of perfume. A very niche brand, provocative and singular. The concept was such a challenge: making a scent from the waste of the perfume industry. We did it. It's called I AM TRASH. It smells very good and it became the best seller of the perfume house. You can buy it in 440 stores around the world or by clicking here. I love this idea because it reflects pretty well how a creative agency can collaborate efficiently with a brand today.

I AM TRASH
Someone else's creative project that inspired you years ago.

I think we really need to find inspiration outside of the advertising world. Cinema, TV series, music, theater, dance, contemporary circus, standup comedy … I try to have a look at all these different disciplines. There is one common point to all these artistic fields: emotion. The most important hook to catch someone's attention in advertising, by the way.

Someone else's creative project that you've been envious of lately.

Last year, a bit by chance, I discovered a Getty Images campaign I fell in love with: Coma. An original series made entirely out of image bank content. A simple product demo, actually. Brilliant idea. And very risky. Because what could be a great idea on a Keynote presentation could become a big fail in terms of execution. But they did it. Very well. The plot, the storytelling, the acting, the directing, everything is great. Like a good series on Netflix. I'm jealous. But very excited about the future of our industry.

Your main strength as a creative person.

Empathy.  

Your main weakness or blind spot. 

I'm too rational sometimes.

One thing that always makes you happy. 

A kiss. From my kids. 

One thing that always makes you sad.

Idiocy.

What you'd be doing if you weren't in advertising.

I would cook pizzas. 

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Tim Nudd
Tim Nudd is editor in chief of the Clio Awards and the founding editor of Muse by Clio.

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