We are always asking and seeking – that’s what Scandinavians could learn from us

We are always asking and seeking Srdjan Saper Photo: Petar Glebov/PIXSELL

Maybe it’s a cliché – but we are experts in making the most out of small things. We don’t have the manpower or the finances, but in Scandinavia there is an abundance which needs to be brought down to the simple things. The agencies here are fantastic in many ways, and the Scandinavians could also learn from us, not just us from them. The knowledge comes from the curiosity we all have in this region. We ask and we seek, and that is a kind of openness the Scandinavians are not used to. They are more closed, as a society – they have a hard time overcoming the hoops we jump through easily– said Srđan Šaper, founder of McCann Beograd, which today is a part of the leading communication system I&F McCann Grupa which successfully operates in 12 countries of southern and northern Europe (Serbia, Macedonia, Montenegro, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Albania, Bulgaria, Slovenia, Croatia, Norway, Sweden, Finland and Denmark) and is one of the most important affiliate partners of the McCann Worldgroup network.

– The future of communication is at its best in history. Today, the customer (not the media) is the owner of both the brand and the message. When this moment came, the agencies became the only ones you can seriously talk to about it – said the singer, the actor, the graduated director, the marketing man, the one who created history in ex-Yugoslavia and who is still creating it in the region, and the one who radiates optimism. And he stills lives under the motto of the New Wave movement - above everything else you need to be free.

Šaper talked at the panel One on One which was moderated by Tomo Ricov, one of the organizers of the Weekend Media Festival, a music lover, a radio host, a DJ and an owner of some of the best clubs in Zagreb.

That is exactly why Šaper and Ricov found common ground – as people who juggle a lot of things and are at the same time successful in all of them. That was also the first question the Zagreb colleague asked his Belgrade colleague: which profession left the biggest mark on him? Even though he only had one movie role in his life, playing Spiridon Kopicl in “Strangler vs. Strangler”, Šaper said that most people recognize him by it.

– Once I was riding a cab and the driver asked me if I were that famous actor. I said that I am, but that I haven’t had a role for 30 years. ‘So what, just be persistent’ is what he said to me – and this was just one of the many anecdotes Šaper told to the full auditorium at the 10th Weekend Media Festival.

Among all the professions he has had, he only never got to be a sport legend. And the reason for it is because he has always worn glasses so he could never tell his team from his rival basketball team. And his father was fascinated with basketball and wanted to pass that love down to his son. He met Vlada Divjan in his freshman year at the 8th Belgrade Grammar school. They just clicked and by the time they were 16 they were hitchhiking Europe and playing music in the streets, like Simon and Garfunkel. It was just an intro into a wonderful time of unity and good energy, when in 1976 punk exploded, followed by the New Wave.

– Suddenly it didn’t matter if you played perfectly or not, what mattered was if you had an idea. When I met Nebojša Krstić, he, Vlada and I were at this party and we decided to form a band. In that time music was everything. So VIS “Idoli” was born, and we did have a bit of luck because at that time there was an explosion of good energy in Yugoslavia and in 1980 we became famous – Šaper said.

After that, Idoli published the legendary single “Maljčiki” with the new version of the song “Retko te viđam sa devojkama/I rarely see you with girls” which was controversial, but became a hit in the entire former Yugoslavia. It was difficult to record something in those days, but albums were made in circulations of a hundred thousand and more.

– Once we recorded an album from 8 till 2 in the morning, which is pretty hard when you are playing rock music. And Hanka Paldum had a slot in the studio after us. So, she listened to us and asked us afterwards: what the hell are you boys doing? This is worse than jazz – Šaper told us.

So how did marketing blend into the whole story, being something entirely different?

– Together with my friends I founded Soda film with the idea to shoot commercials while we wait for ‘the big movie’. That was a thing in Yugoslavia, because there were no advertising agencies. We did everything – from strategies and creative ideas to visualization, and learnt the craft of pitching to a potential client.

Then came the ‘90s, the disintegration of Yugoslavia, the war, the sanctions…I realized it was time for the grasshopper to become an ant, so I founded an advertising agency.

Today I&F McCann Grupa, one of the best communication systems in the region which has made a step towards Scandinavia, marks the 20th birthday. Because Srđan Šaper lives and works just as he says he does – common sense matters, but passion makes the world go around.

The original publication is at: http://2017.weekendmediafestival.com/mi-uvijek-pitamo-i-trazimo-to-je-ono-sto-bi-skandinavci-mogli-nauciti-od-nas/

I&F McCann Grupa jedan je od vodećih komunikacionih sistema koji 20 godina uspešno posluje u 12 zemlja jugo istočne Evrope i nordijske regije. Naš posvećen tim čini 600 talentovanih profesionalaca, koji svakodnevno sarađuju na integraciji marketinških kampanja, promotivnih aktivnosti, organizaciji događaja, dizajnu, planiranju i zakupu medijskog prostora, PR, produkciji, komunikaciji u oblasti zdravstva, kreiranju TV sadržaja,kao i na svim formama digitalnog marketinga. Agencije koje posluju u okviru I&F McCann Grupe deo su McCann Worldgroup (www.mccannworldgroup.com),jedne od najvećih svetskih agencijskih mreža,osnovane 1902.godine koja posluje u više od 120 zemalja sveta, i u vlasništvu je Interpublic Group (IPG) (www.interpublic.com) sa sedištem u Njujorku.