Before becoming creative director at Wunderman Thompson, Manuel Ostyn worked as a creative at Duval Guillaume, LDV United and mortierbrigade. Winning a multitude of national and international awards for various clients and even becoming Agency of the Year at the Creative Belgium Awards with two of these agencies. A tradition he honored when joining WundermanThompson (formerly known as These Days) in 2015. Where he built a strong creative department that immediately claimed its place in the Belgian top and in less than 3 years earned the agency the much coveted Agency of the Year award at the Creative Belgium Awards. This time even scoring a hattrick with the Mixx Digital agency of the year and Merit Agency of the year awards.
Always trying to narrow the gap between creative awards and clients' interests, a mindset that pays off in many big pitch wins.
It’s with that same mindset that he’s been part of the board of Creative Belgium for over 4 years now. And the same mindset in which he already judged for various award shows and young talent competitions.
When yet another brilliant campaign doesn't get to see the light of day due to a not so brilliant error of judgement, Wunderman Thompson usually sees this as an opportunity to 'callus the mind'.
So is this skill of building mental toughness a requirement to stay sane in the business, or do you have to be slightly insane to keep on going?
Try, for example, imagining creating a brilliant campaign that never sees the light of day ... only to be released by another creative a year later with a budget the size of a EuroMillions jackpot – for a less relevant client of course… and resulting in 10 Lion awards.
That calls for some utterly creative manic swearing, swiftly followed by a gentle but effective session of callusing the mind.
It is those slightly insane people I need for my panel: creatives who are mentally tough enough to recognise the jealousy naturally arising when they see a strong campaign and to skillfuly transform that feeling into a positive assessment.
They also need enough of a callused mind not to blindly throw all categories and subcategories overboard at the sight of an admittedly brilliant campaign. Belgium is a small country, which means that several subcategories are often lumped together, but we need to be able to assess all the work within its relevant category.
Above all, we need to appreciate strong creative campaigns that have really contributed to clients. This will in turn increase clients’ appreciation of them, and will then hopefully allow us to ease off on the mental toughness a little in the future.