2 Minutes With ... Menno Kluin, Chief Creative Officer at 360i

His creative inspirations, from Johan Kramer to Taryn Simon

Photo illustration by Ashley Epping

Menno Kluin joined 360i as chief creative officer in June 2017, bringing with him a track record of creative success and a reputation for attracting and nurturing talent and rolling up his sleeves to make the work better. 

He came over from Deutsch, where he had led creative for brands like Sherwin Williams, Water Is Life, Shock Top, Green Giant and the Children's Museum of the Arts. He also championed the creation of Krylon's First Ever Pinterest Yard Sale, one of the most awarded campaigns of 2015. 

Prior to Deutsch, Kluin spent time leading art departments at DDB and Y&R. He began his career at Saatchi & Saatchi New York. 

We spent two minutes with him to learn more about his background, his creative inspirations, and recent and classic work he's admired. 

Menno, tell us... 

The town where you were born. 

I was born in the small town of Bodegraven in the Netherlands. It's a beautiful town with lots of greenery. Every year they would crown a Cheese Queen—it was definitely the most popular event of the year. 

What you wanted to be when you grew up.

I wanted to be an archeologist but realized everything would have been found by the time I was grown up, so I abandoned that plan. Then I thought about being an architect for a little bit, but let's say math was not something I excelled at, so I also moved on from that dream.

How you discovered you were creative.

I won a poster design competition in high school, and I guess that's how my creative career began. I created the poster by hand, doing it over and over again until it was perfect. It was that passion for bringing my idea to life with painstaking detail that made me want to be a creative. The feeling I received after seeing my design up all around town had me hooked. Although to this day, I still suspect I only won that competition because my poster was the only one that was legible. 

A person you idolized creatively growing up.

Johan Kramer and Erik Kessels from agency KesselsKramer. Their work still inspires me today, as they had such a unique style. The weird and wonderful work they did for Diesel, Ben, Hans Brinker and so many others. Every single thing they made in their office was different, interesting, perfectly designed and well-crafted. They truly contributed something to the larger creative community that changed how things were done.

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

Attending Miami Ad School Europe definitely changed my life. It was a path that set me up for where I am today. I am beyond thankful for Niklas Frings-Rupp's guidance (co-founder of Miami Ad School Europe) and my overall time at the school. 

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

My first concert was Metallica at Rock Werchter in Belgium. Jason Newsted was incredible in that show. My favorite musician today is probably Ólafur Arnalds, an Icelandic multi-instrumentalist. My musical tastes from when I was younger to today has definitely covered both ends of the spectrum. 

Your favorite artist.

Taryn Simon. She is a true multidisciplinary artist who incorporates pure creativity and perfection in every topic she tackles. 

The best book you've read lately.

A Chinese Journey: The Sigg Collection. It's about the world's leading collection of contemporary Chinese art, which was displayed at the Het Noordbrabants Museum in Netherlands. 

Your favorite movie. 

The Godfather 1 and 2. Not 3.

Your favorite Instagram follow. 

As a dog owner, I really enjoy @mydoghikes. I mean, just see for yourself.

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

I'm very proud of all the work I've done over the years. I've been extremely lucky to create some award-winning projects and other pieces of work that I personally was passionate about. Two projects hold a meaningful place in my heart. The first is Water Is Life's "4-Year-Old's Bucket List," and the second is NYC Ballet's "New Beginnings." These two projects seemed impossible in the beginning to pull off, but with sheer determination and persistence, we were able to accomplish something truly incredible. 

Your favorite creative project from the past year, and why. 

It's been an exciting year of work. Everything I've worked on has been favorites of mine in their own way, but creating an all-Oreo version of the iconic Game of Thrones opening credits was a unique experience. The film showcases the houses still in play for the throne with an animated landscape built entirely out of 2,750 animated original and Oreo Game of Thrones cookies.

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

The old Guinness campaigns, like "Swim Black" and "Dreamer," are still the gold standard. "Dreamer" is my ultimate favorite, as it is a timeless classic. It is perfection, from the idea to the way it was shot to even the music. I secretly wish I was working at AMV BBDO London at the time this was created, just to have been in the presence of greatness. The campaign has its own Wiki page, so you know it was special. 

Guinness | Swim Black
Guinness | Dreamer
Someone else's creative project that you've been envious of lately. 

I've been admiring ad agency BETC Paris for some time now. Rémi Babinet and Stéphane Xiberras are creative leaders I've always followed and emulated, and what they've been able to build over the years is just amazing. Even though they tend to lean into traditional fundamentals, every piece of work feels fresh and new. 

Your main strength as a creative person. 

Curiosity. I try to keep pushing the boundaries.

Your weakness or blind spot. 

I sometimes fail to notice when my persistence spills over to irrational thinking.

One thing that always makes you happy. 

A new art book.

One thing that always makes you sad.

Global warming and the destruction of the planet by humans.

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

I'd be an art dealer, collector, framer, assistant, handler, curator, museum owner. Anything art related.

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Tim Nudd
Tim Nudd was editor in chief of the Clio Awards and editor of Muse by Clio from 2018 to 2023.

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