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Cannes Radar: MUH-TAY-ZIK | HOF-FER

Cannes Radar: MUH-TAY-ZIK | HOF-FER

The creative and strategy agency leaders take time out in Cannes for this Q&A from La Croisette.

John Matejczyk, Co-founder/executive creative director, and Matt Hofherr, co-founder/director of strategy, at San Francisco agency MUH-TAY-ZIK | HOF-FER reaveal wat's on their creative radar.

What piece of work are you tipping or would you like to see win in Cannes this year and why?

JM: The Derek Jeter farewell for Gatorade will do well, and it should. This year's crop of work is too reliant on case studies, in my view. This has hurt our industry's ability to honour craft and emotion. The juries need to be disciplined in order to honor work that is great, rather than well crafted case studies. There was a time when awards show reels were as enjoyable as a good movie, with hit after hit of great little films.


What website(s) do you use most regularly in your daily life and why?

JM: In a rare down-moment, I do find myself still using Facebook. Instagram has fallen off for me. Why? I got a new phone and haven't yet rearranged my apps so I reach for what's in front of me. There's a consumer insight for you: do anything you can to get on the home screen!

For industry news on desktop, I actually find newsletter emails from publications to be equally as important as their sites because they insert themselves directly into my workflow.

I've been commuting by train recently and have found the Wall Street Journal to be excellent.

Oh, also, have you heard of the little site called Netflix?


What’s the most recent piece of tech that you’ve bought and why?

JM: Old-school wearable tech: progressive lens eyeglasses. So I can see my iPhone. 

MH: I’m a watch guy, so I had to buy the Apple Watch. I love it. I now look down at my phone less, which is a good thing. For example, we had a big pre-pro meeting for one of our clients. It was during a Golden State Warrior’s game. I got a subtle pulse on my wrist after each quarter to let me know the score of the game. When the pre-pro ended I was able to tell the group the game was in overtime and we all watched the Warriors win together.

Facebook, Instagram or Twitter for the week of Cannes?

JM: I'm slowly starting to lean more towards Twitter, but Facebook continues to be where most of my community is. Insta is mainly for fun. This year at Cannes, I will most likely continue my slow lurch towards Twitter.

What’s your favourite app on your phone and why?

JM: Well, technically, the camera is an app, right? That's an easy win for me. 

Facebook has been very useful as a communications tool as well. My son goes to school overseas and Facebook messenger has become the most reliable communications channel for our family. And professionally, most fellow creatives I keep in touch with are through Facebook messenger. 

MH: I have two apps I’m enjoying right now. The Activity App for the iPhone and Apple Watch is beautiful. Great design that makes you want to use the app all the time. It’s really gorgeous. The other app I’m using is the opposite – it’s ugly but functional. It’s called Priority Matrix (think three dimensional to-do list).

What’s your favourite TV show and why and how/when do you tend to view it?

JM: I will say Mad Men was my most anticipated TV viewing. Not because it was about advertising. Advertising was really just a rouse to do character studies and plot lines. They did it so very well. The whole last episode, I was saying to my wife, "there's no way they're going to land this thing." But then the final scene played. Bang on, on so many levels. 

MH: I love Netflix. In full disclosure, they’re a client. They’ve turned me on to great shows. The BBC’s Sherlock with Benedict Cumberatch is first-rate cinema, Daredevil I finished in record time, and I have now slowed things down with a western series called Longmire.

What film do you think everyone should have seen?

JM: Raising Arizona is mankind's greatest artistic output of the twentieth century. It works on the surface, with no obvious reference to its subtext. Yet on closer inspection it is profound on a much deeper level. Who is the Lone Biker of the Apocalypse, and who are we?

MH: Any movie with Jimmy Stewart in it. You feel his sincerity and it makes you smile. You can’t go wrong with Frank Capra’s Mr. Smith Goes To Washington.

What place do you think everyone should have been?

JM: Kraków, 30 years ago, and today. Ideas have consequences. The ability to compare the grinding poverty and ever-present paranoia of communism to today's  shining jewel is stunning. 

Where were you when inspiration last struck?

JM: It truly is remarkable how inspirational the saddle of my road bike is. My rare moments of clarity are almost always there. And I am a mediocre cyclist. 

And what’s your top tip for the week of Cannes Lions – either in terms of getting through the week or soaking up the inspiration?


1. Pace yourself. 

2. Better to dash all your hopes of success before you arrive than have them mercilessly dashed for you when you are there. 

How has Cannes changed in the years you’ve been visiting the Festival?

JM: I'm a relative newb with just my third trip. I will say this though... our industry, to which we have devoted our careers, has no real moment of coming together, no "trade show" for a lack of a better term, outside of Cannes. It is an important time that agencies, production companies, and advertisers all come together. It is the only time. 

If there was one thing you could change about the advertising industry, what would it be?

JM: That's an easy one. We spend an utterly absurd percentage of our creative resources creating presentations. The amount of dead work, the amount of wasted resources from a human and financial perspective is saddening. If we re-purposed that energy toward creating work, we would all be more effective. The brands we represent would win. 

What’s the most important thing you’ll take away or hope to take away from Cannes this year in terms of progressing your business or creative or personal development and learning?

JM: Motivation. At its most indulgent, Cannes overstates the importance of what we do. However, it's a great reminder that a lot of very smart people do it very well. If you seek to be the best in the world at your craft, Cannes is a place where you can measure your progress.

MH: I’ve never allowed myself to go. Sad, but true. I’ve always felt I could accomplish more if I stayed back at the agency. My hope is I leave feeling energized, inspired and that we forge a business relationship or new client relationship while there. I’m looking for learning a thing or two or three.

What or who has most influenced your career and why?

JM: I have taken invaluable lessons and coaching from many creative directors and directors. But as far as a dramatic before-and-after, I need to mention Craig Gillespie. We shot an H&R Block campaign many years ago that changed my career trajectory entirely.

MH: TV. Watch enough of it and you realise 90 per cent of the advertising on it is junk. I feel it’s the responsibility of the great agencies to cleanup this mess. The problem is 90 per cent of 'good enough' advertising comes from 'good enough' agencies. And because the talent inside those agencies is not good enough to climb up the ranks in advertising they often go client side. This leads to clients that are not good enough. So what am I getting at? The whole eco-system has influenced me. From a great television ad, to a great advertising colleague, to a great client, to a great agency I admire. Greatness feeds greatness and the industry needs to inspire more of it.

Tell us one thing about yourself that most people won’t know…

JM: I’m a doodler, especially during conference calls. I’m honestly not a very gifted drawer, but this strategy actually helps me to listen better. I saw an audiologist once who told me to always stay engaged visually in order to better process aural information.

MH: I’m not a big social party type of guy. On most nights I'd rather stay in my room working than say working a party. But hey, I’m at Cannes, so look out.


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