17th International Eyes & Awards

​22.10. / Munich

Eyes & Ears Excellence Award 2015

Eyes & Ears of Europe
Michael Conrad

Michael Conrad, President Berlin School of Creative Leadership, Zürich/Berlin

This year, the Eyes & Ears Excellence Awards goes to the advertising professional Michael Conrad, whose career has been marked in an impressive manner by creative achievement and entrepreneurial success: At a young age, Michael Conrad joins the advertising industry rather by accident. When he meets Walter Lürzer in 1963, he is quickly convinced of Conrad's qualities as a writer and brings him into contact with Young & Rubicam. After successful years at Y&R, Ogilvy & Mather and TBWA, Michael Conrad together with Walter Lürzer found their first own agency Lürzer, Conrad in 1975. 1978/1978 it was already named 'Agency of the Year' and was the fastest growing agency in Germany. The legendary, award-winning campaign for the Fiat Panda with the slogan "Eine tolle Kiste" set new standards. The campaign was not only creative, but efficient. In 1980, 'Lürzer, Conrad' merged with Leo Burnett, and in 1986, Michael Conrad is the first German ever to work at the global Agency Leo Burnett in the USA: Here, he is responsible for worldwide accounts such as Malboro. Creative excellence and economic success are closely linked here as well. He introduces the creative system '7+ to Heaven': A system, where concepts and ideas are rated on a scale of 1-10. 4 stands for clichés, 9 for a new standard in communications. "My central theme through all this time remained 'the idea', to which at some point I added the word 'fresh'. Fresh ideas for radio commercials, advertisements, promotions, TV commercials or campaigns", writes Michael Conrad in an article in 2009. Under his leadership, the 27 agencies of Leo Burnett are named Agency of the year at least once, each. At the end of his career, Leo Burnett is the most awarded agency in the world, the Global Agency of the Year. Michael Conrad calls himself a "Salesman Poet". His creative principle is to understand people, recognise problems, to demonstrate product benefits and to be competitive. "Good advertisers are Salesman Poets, they understand the market, have the best knowledge about the lives of people and can connect both with ideas," says Conrad. In 2003, he founded the Berlin School of Creative Leadership where he teaches his basic principle "Creative Excellence combined with business success." And it is this combination that makes Michael Conrad one of the most successful creatives and a worthy winner of the Eyes & Ears Excellence Award.