Geoffrey Hantson (Duval Guillaume Modem): I decided to get a job in advertising because I hated it

Geoffrey Hantson (Duval Guillaume Modem): I decided to get a job in advertising because I hated it

Geoffrey Hantson (Creative Director - Managing Partner, Duval Guillaume Modem) entered the advertising stage with a “grrr”. He wasn’t satisfied with how things were done in advertising and he remains dissatisfied to this day. The thing we should admire him for and apply ourselves is that he does not see the general weak state of advertising as a justification for his own failed creations, instead he uses it as a reason to create something exceptional. I’m not talking about striking it lucky, rather it’s about constantly delivering spectacular work, work to which you subscribe in order to be the first one to discover what’s hot in this industry. On a mission to find out what makes him so damn creative, we asked him to tell us more about his life in an interview for AdStory. If you want more of Geoffrey, you can see him at ICEEfest, this June, in Romania.

I grew up on the streets of a little town in Belgium playing soccer with friends, annoying a lot of people in the neighbourhood and dreaming that one day I would be a poet or a surgeon.

Adolescence is the period when I could not – by no means – accept authority.

In high school I used to be the guy that questioned everything and the craziest thing I have ever done was being obliged to change schools over 5 times…

In college I used to not fit in.

I feel young when I work and play. And old whenever I see the strong and fresh young bodies of my children.

To this day I remember how it feels to be lonely, and desperate.

I got my first paycheck at 21 in South of Spain where I had to sell raisers, rug sacks and sunglasses to people on the beach. And I used the money to celebrate life, of course.

I decided to get a job in advertising because I hated it.

The first campaign I ever thought up was “Melones Melilla”. Now I think that it is something that nobody may ever see.

The best campaigns I’ve worked on so far will be the next one. Always the next one. I hate looking back.

The project I really wanted to work out (although it didn’t) was Nikon. Would love to have a second chance on this brand. I am convinced I would succeed now.

In order to better understand what the client wants, I went so far as to become a Weight Watcher.

The advertising related mannerisms pop up whenever I see bad advertising. Meaning, all of the time.

The best piece of advice I have ever received from someone in the advertising industry was “Trust your gut“ and “Good is the enemy of great”.

A lesson I learned the hard way was people are just a temporary thing on this planet.

Everything would run smoothly in this industry if only people understood that the biggest risk is no risk.

I look at the advertising juniors nowadays and I think to myself there’s so much opportunity, grab it!

I hope to get to work as often as possible with clients who are smart and brave and as seldom as possible with clients who are just doing their job.

The brands that have the best communication strategies are the ones that have societal purpose.

My favorite campaigns are:

TV: Honda. Hate something. Change something. Because the execution was absolutely fantastic and the headline could be the headline that fits my life.

Print: The smart Economist headlines. My favorite one probably being ‘Stop having to remind everyone who you are.’ That hurts :)

Outdoor: Playstation, at the time Erik Vervroegen was the creative director. It was game-changing outdoor/print and it’s the benchmark since then.

Digital: Nike+ community. A clear case of a brand doing something for the people and the people clearly being able of doing something with the brand. Digital thinking as it should be.

Ambient: Power to the people. An outdoor print poster accumulating solar energy and transforming it in electricity for townships in South Africa. Creatives should be obliged to use their creative talent for good. Our planet needs it.

Integrated: The latest three little pigs case from The Guardian was as integrated as it should be.

In my browser history you can find Webmail and Gmail, because I hate Lotus Notes.

Unrelated to my job, I also run, write poetry and try to be a good person.

Weekends are the period during which I am completely dedicated to my beloved wife and 3 children.

The book I’ve read 3 times is Archetypes from Carl Gustav Jung.

I turn up the volume whenever I hear a song by Jacques Brel. Belgian biggest poet.

I will never grow tired of watching any James Bond or Star Wars or Tarantino film.

I try not to miss any “breakfast on Sunday with my family” episodes.


Geoffrey Hantson will be speaking during “The Digital Influencers” session on the first day of ICEEfest 2013.
More about the event, the speakers’ roster, the list with themes and information about the ticket purchase is available on

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