Make no mistake – Hadas Liwer, the Chief Creative Officer at JWT Israel, is a woman to watch. From the moment she opened a design studio of her own at age 20, Hadas has been making strides in the world of advertising and currently stands as the only female CCO in Israel’s top 20 agencies. She says she “stumbled upon advertising,” but to us it looks like she glided right in.
In 2013, Hadas was selected to serve on judging panels at some of the industry’s biggest awards shows, such as Cannes, the London International Awards and the Cristal Festival. She took a moment at the start of this new year to discuss some important topics — her favorite past campaigns, her goals to help empower women in the creative field and, of course, her favorite food.
Read our conversation below:
Have you always been interested in advertising? How did you get your start?
I really stumbled upon advertising. I was never the girl who drew lovely things nor the head of the decorating committee at school. As a matter of fact I was the exact opposite – yet, still I found myself running a design studio of my own at the age of 20, working with some of the biggest Israeli companies, designing magazines, exhibitions and major media projects. Once I found myself dealing mostly with the gray, boring aspects of running a business, I sold it and started working as an art director at the biggest agencies in Israel. My first real client, the one who paid the bills, was a simple local T-shirt manufacturer. I was the one who “designed” the graphics for the shirts, whether it was for “The Best Garage in Town” or for “Fun in the Sun,” a preschool summer camp. Not that glamorous, is it?
I have worked very hard during my 13 years in advertising, and I have been lucky enough to have Gil, my husband, believing in me, pushing me forward, and helping me raise our two amazing sons while pursuing a highly demanding career.
Judging is long, meticulous work. Although it usually takes place in beautiful locations around the world, most of it occurs in notoriously chilled rooms, where you can look out at amazing beaches/snow slopes/luxury hotel facilities from the judging room windows.
But the part of judging I anticipate the most is the jury deliberation, when opinions are bouncing back and forth in the room. I feel so lucky to be a part of this remarkable group of people that is so different from me and at the same time so much like me. I am often amazed by how someone can pick up on something so cleverly hidden and change, just like that, assertions held by strongly opinionated people.
What were some of your favorite advertising campaigns in 2013?
I would like to talk about three amazing ideas that are not as famous as the great “Dumb Ways to Die” and not as high-profile as the beautiful “Dove — Real Beauty Sketches.” Some won more international awards than others, but all three are touching and insightful, tackling different problems of everyday life:
The Museum of the Great War in France wanted to appeal to young people and make the stories and the memory of World War I more accessible. Since this audience spends more time on Facebook than in actual museums, they pretended that Facebook had existed in 1914, and opened a personal profile for Léon Vivien, An ordinary young guy torn from his pregnant wife and thrown into battle.
This medium managed to successfully convey what might seem like a detached, sometimes even boring message, and made me think how amazing it would be if history lessons were presented to students this way.
Almost every woman I know hates being photographed or filmed. Somewhere along the way, we learn to harshly criticize our looks, a behavior that young girls lack completely. This beautifully shot little ad for Dove, which held such strong insight and a great soundtrack, was somewhat overshadowed by the same brand’s well-deserving ad, “Real Beauty Sketches.” The simplicity, the power of the insight and the accurate execution did it for me.
JWT Brazil devised an IV cover that transforms scary chemotherapy plastic bags into an amazing “Superformula” designed to fight cancer — the villain. It is a touching idea, which makes a real change in the complicated lives of young children with cancer and their families. Using with special comic books and much love and care, they helped these little real-life super heroes overcome fears during their struggle to overcome cancer altogether.
What are your goals for 2014?
I am proud to say that Israel is blessed with talent. You probably know this in regard to technology or the military, but I truly believe that the Israeli creative community can match any other. So, my goal for 2014 is to bring global standards and fearlessness to the young generation of the Israeli industry, and share my experience and knowledge, earned after many years in advertising.
And, on a personal note — I want to empower young women, who are still a minority in the creative department, to speak up and strive forward. Girls, invest yourselves in this career that you love so much. You don’t have to sacrifice anything but excuses. You are talented, natural-born leaders and… HOT. You can do this AND that. AND is your friend.
What’s your favorite Israeli food?
Food is a big thing in our house. My husband and I practically built the kitchen and then the rest of the house around it. We both love cooking and baking — we love having people over and cooking for them. And we go out to eat quite often in the amazing restaurants that Israel has to offer. As a matter of fact, since I travel a lot, I can objectively say that Israel has some of the best food in the world, and covers all cultures, whether it is Japanese, Italian, French, anything you can think of!
Another confession I have to make is that while I adore sophisticated, usually expensive food, whenever I really crave a good, juicy, tasty, high-calorie indulgence, I turn to the simplest, most common street food in Israel: Shawarma — turkey meat on a mega skewer rotating endlessly on an upright grill and shoved into fresh pita bread filled with hummus, tahini and lots of other things that make your mouth water and your thighs fat.