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ARMLife Interview with Account Director, Jacob Kvetny

This month we spoke with Digital Account Director, Jacob Kvetny, from the London Office. We explore his International background, and experience since moving to London, eventually leading him to All Response Media.

Shona Dobson: Tell us a bit about yourself and your background?

Jacob Kvetny: I’ve been at All Response for about 2 and a half years. I’m originally from Copenhagen, Denmark where I grew up for most of my childhood. My Dad had to move around a lot as he worked with the Danish government helping developing countries; sometimes we even went with him, which was an exciting experience. We got to live in Hanoi, Vietnam for a while where I went to an International School, and my parents also lived in Mozambique, so I’ve always had interest in living abroad.

When I was looking at universities, I thought London was an easy choice, since I already knew the language and it’s somewhere different to where I’ve already lived. I ended up completing both my bachelor’s and master’s degrees here.

My degree was more to do with politics, however digital by some means became a focus for my dissertation and I found it really interesting. After graduating I decided to stay and secured a graduate position with a small media agency in Soho. It was relatively search focused and, a lot of their clients were charities and NGOs, which I found exciting and relevant to what I had studied and was passionate about. I also enjoyed the business and digital element to the company.

After being there for a year and a half, I decided to try something more commercial, so I took up a position at Mediacom. I was in a Media Planner role, involved in strategic planning and working with luxury brands, which was completely different to what I had done before, but I thought it would be great to learn from one of the biggest media agencies in the world.

I ended up realising it wasn’t the right fit for me, though it was a good learning experience. A lot of the people I worked with were very talented and I had the opportunity to work with international accounts and big brands, which I thought would be more glamorous than it was.

I was then approached about an opportunity here at All Response Media; I met with one of our Directors, Nick Cudahy and it all seemed very positive and a great fit. Owen, my manager when I joined, had worked with two of my previous managers at Mediacom, which gave me even more confidence in joining. I knew it would be a place where I could really learn. At Mediacom, I focused on fewer media channels, and I knew at All Response I would get exposure to everything.

In the meantime, I had met my partner who’s from Australia after I left university and we’ve just bought a place in Brixton, which we’ll be moving into soon.

SD: It’s an interesting background, being from Denmark, a school in Vietnam and now London. 

JK: Yes, I went to a Canadian International School in Hanoi, now I’ve lived in London for almost 10 years, and living with my Australian partner; so, my accent can sound a bit strange!

When I first moved here, I thought it would only be for a few years, as I always dreamed of going back home. Now Denmark is probably too small for me, and we did just buy a place.

I’m very happy here and All Response Media is a place I really appreciate.

SD: What’s your favourite thing about working here at All Response Media?

JK: It’s hard to find a place where your opinions are understood and appreciated, which is something I really like about All Response Media. I’m also surrounded by like-minded people. I’ve made friends in previous places where I’ve worked but not like I have here.

The people are probably the best thing about All Response Media; you can speak to anyone from all levels very easily – this would never happen in Mediacom.

I feel my opinions have value and are taken into consideration; If I have a good idea it can quickly become a reality, whereas in Mediacom it would take ages to make happen as you have to go through so many different levels.

SD: What are some of your main responsibilities?

JK: My main responsibility overall is overseeing the growth and success of all the clients that my team and I manage.

SD: Which clients do you manage?

JK: SunLife is the biggest one and a lot of charities. A couple of the directors used to joke that I was the charity master. 

I had a great connection with WWF and Care International, and in my time we also picked up the accounts for homeless charity Centrepoint, and most recently Great Ormond Street Hospital. Once you understand what works and what doesn’t for that type of advertiser it does help and make things easier when working with other charities.

However, I find I can communicate with most people, which is an important skill to have when working with clients and a team. I’m also happy to work with commercial clients, such as SunLife, which is obviously completely different and still great to work with.

SD: What are some of the tasks you have in a typical week?

JK: What I do depends on what’s happening with the clients. We have a lot of client presentations and a lot of meetings, overseeing and communicating with the team and checking in with them to see how they’re getting on. All of which I really enjoy. I’ve got a great team, so I’m very happy with all the support, and from the wider team of the agency as well. Everyone is there to support you if there is a challenge of any kind, and they will help you to solve it. We all have a collective understanding of working together as one, to do the best job as an agency.

SD: Would you say that is something unique to All Response Media?

JK: I think so, from my experience it’s an agency where people support each other well. If anyone needs help, it’s easy for others to step in. At other agencies, I found you were very much in your own teams, whereas here it feels like one big family looking out for each other. It helps to have an open plan office and working so closely together; everyone is very approachable.

SD: What would your advice be to someone starting out and wanting to get into media?

JK: Be really open to possibilities and take good notes! Really pay attention to what people teach you and find out what works for you. It isn’t ‘one size fits all’ in media, there are so many areas to it. You might be better in certain areas and not in others, so find out what you’re good at and what you enjoy. If you’re good at everything that’s great, but very few people are! If you focus on your strengths that will take you far.

SD: What’s a fun fact about you?

JK: I think people would be surprised to know that my boyfriend and I did up our flat completely by ourselves. Most people that know me wouldn’t think I would be into DIY, but Ian my partner is, he has an eye for interior design and is very creative; he inspired me to get involved too with our own place. Now we’ll also be doing our new flat up ourselves. Most people that have come to visit where we currently live are really impressed with how original it looks. So, I’m very excited about our new place in Brixton and putting our own stamp on it as well. We have ideas that we think will make it look really cool, so fingers crossed it’s a good project!