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Geoffrey Hantson

Executive Creative Director / Duval Guillaume Modem

 

Geoffrey Hantson, 40, is the Executive Creative Director of Duval Guillaume Modem. He's been running the creative department at Duval Guillaume since 2006. Since then, the Antwerp based agency has gained international Grand Prix awards, golds and silvers on all major festivals (Cannes, EurobestClio, One Show, …). 

In 2010 Geoffrey was named ‘creative of the year’ and both in 2012 & 2013 the agency was named ‘creative agency of the year’ in Belgium. Today Geoffrey runs the creative department together with Katrien Bottez. In the last 2 years only, they gathered 25 Cannes Lions – of which 11 gold – and were named agency of the year in the Media category. At Eurobest 2012 they were the most awarded agency with an astonishing 23 awards, including 3 Grand Prix and 6 gold. Business Insider named Geoffrey ‘one of the 25 most creative people in advertising’ (globally) and appointed the agency amongst the ‘gamechangers’, calling their work ‘amongst the best advertising ever seen’. In 2013 Ad Age named Geoffrey one of the 11 ‘creatives to watch’, globally.

What brought you into advertising? How did you start?

I hate advertising so I got in there because it seemed like the only way to earn money with my pen. However, to quote one of the best Honda campaigns ever (Grrrr) ‘Hate something. Change something.’ I think it’s a credo that perfectly tells the story of my life.

What keeps you in this business? What drives you to work everyday?

That builds on the former answer. The almost naïve will to change things. And the passion to continue doing it every single day. You get such a huge amount of energy if you start feeling that with the necessary braveness you can actually really change things, even if it’s only 2%. I guess that the ones who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, actually do, right? Jobs was right. I guess.

Looking back, is there anything you’d change?

No. Nothing. I believe you should live your life knowing that this question will come every week and that ‘no!’ should always be the answer. So live it to the fullest. Get the most out of it.

If not advertising, what else?

As a child I wanted to be a surgeon or a poet. Both words and a surgical knife can cut really deep.

What's the best thing that’s ever happened to you because of advertising?

Difficult one. So many great things happened over the years. One magical moment was this incredible whale I saw for minutes and minutes during a shoot in South Africa. It’s my favorite animal.

What advice would you give to young creatives starting out now?

Do it! This is a fantastic moment to start in advertising. Our world changes drastically and I truly believe that more than ever creative excellence is needed. So our job is getting more interesting every day.

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?

From a dead guy: the biggest risk is no risk. Oscar Wilde.

From a living guy: to find you have to stop searching. Guillaume (founder of Duval Guillaume)

What do you do when you take some time off?

It’s cliché, but there’s nothing more interesting than spending my time off with my wife & kids. And once a year with my wife only :)

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