“Berlin is a wannabe. Munich’s the real thing.”
What exactly does your professional background look like? How did you get started?
The advertising school in Vienna. Then I started in journalism as a complete beginner in Frankfurt – Hamburg – Munich. My start was so wonderfully naive – you have to laugh.
You’ve chosen Munich as your home. How did you wind up here and how long have you lived in Munich?
For 25 years, I think. My job brought me to Munich. Vienna – Frankfurt – Hamburg. Then there was the option of going “back” to Austria, or picking somewhere in between. Munich is a brilliant combination in that respect.
How early in life did you know that you wanted to choose a creative profession? Did you have a plan B? Or did your parents hope that you’d “learn something useful”?
When I was six years old I sat on my father’s knee and sang filthy songs for a whole evening. Solo. In a ski lodge. My incredible earnings: 20 Austrian Schillings. Back then I thought I’d become a rock or pop star. But after my first school essays it was clear that my future would be in professional writing. And because the industry was so wonderfully colourful, at least back then, professional writing became creating advertising texts.
We often complain about today’s fast-paced society, and the media is ever more frequently associated with negative buzzwords like “sensory overload” and “excess information”. You’ve been in the industry for a while now: how do you view the evolution of communication, advertising and media in the last few years?
Totally relaxed. As the range of media progresses, people likewise develop further. If someone was to overload me with stimulus, they’d get the sack. People have a very effective spam filter built in at birth.
Everyone wants to go to Berlin: the capital is seen as hip and cool, whilst Munich in contrast always gets labeled as “conservative”. What does Munich have as a media city that Berlin doesn’t?
I’m allowed to make judgments about Berlin because my mother was born there. Berlin is a wannabe. Munich’s the real thing. Stefan Sagmeister researched the effect of beauty on our state of mind. The result: people are happier, there are fewer accidents, fewer heart attacks, less crime. Berlin is ugly as sin. Postdamer Platz – an absolute eyesore. Munich is the opposite – like Hamburg – beautiful.
What do you love about Munich in particular?
It’s definitely this mixture. A cosmopolitan city and yet not. Major clients, great medium-sized enterprises, cool airports. “Mia san mia,” we are who we are. You’re sitting in a taxi in São Paulo. You don’t speak a word of Portuguese. São Paulo has 20 million residents. So it’s really, really big. You come from sweet little Munich. A hamlet in comparison. Then you say “Munich” to the taxi driver. And he starts talking about FC Bayern Munich and Giovane Elber and Dante and never stops. It’s really cool.