Dragana Nikolic
Dragana Nikolic 2 April 2015
Categories Advertising

[Case Study] New Moment - Searching For The Good Old Advertising

Globalisation comes along with technology so we look at key advertising types have changed.

What could split traditional from digital advertising more than the romance of the “old chaps”? It seems that some of the key advertising types have changed.


Newspaper and magazine advertising is replaced by social, online campaigns which goal is to engage as much customers as possible. Search and display advertising replaced mail coupons and TV ads. With these changes, we started searching for global advertising.

The purpose of advertising is “to turn toward” (lat. ad vertere), which extends the purpose of marketing - to communicate and promote.


Advertising is energy, according to Filip Nilsson. The same energy was born in the last century here, in the Balkans. The South East Europe (SEE) was always interesting to research because it always was (and still is) different than the rest of the Europe. The same issue (differences) applied to modern advertising industry - until the New Moment.



The main problem today is that we lack real romance and easy going - even in business. Although I found out his work very late, Mr. Dragan Sakan was surely one of those guys - smart, creative and lucid. He created New Moment, an advertising agency that operates in 8 countries of the Balkans region. Even in his earlier works I recognize modern advertising elements. It’s now easy to compare what he created some 20 or 30 years ago with modern visual content that everybody now can search on YouTube or AdAge.


The agency was founded in the beginning of the new century (2001) and named “New Moment New Ideas Company”. When the war in Ex-Yugoslavia broke out in the beginning of the nineties, Mr. Sakan was well aware of the changes it will eventually bring to the modern market. This region was pushed into a phase of early capitalism where the old system had no chance of survival. As a man with a vision of united creativity, he opened the holding company at 8 different locations thus covering the whole region of the old Yugoslavia, plus Albania and Bulgaria. New Moment became a new advertising light in the Balkans.


In the meanwhile, Mr. Sakan became a majority owner of the biggest agency in Yugoslavia, S Team Bates Saatchi & Saatchi, as well as the member of European Saatchi & Saatchi’s creative board. In addition, New Moment and Young & Rubicam Group became partners in 2007 thus confirming the relevance of advertising in this region. Despite the country being torn apart, which has caused broken relationships between the people but also businesses, New Moment continued to live through all of us. The power of advertising, love for creativity and real values simply survived these harsh times.


"Almost a mythical figure... The man who transformed propaganda into advertising in the region", Advertising Age, Washington, 1999


Pretty woman - a metaphor for advertising. Such a nice name for a book, you just couldn’t guess it at the first sight. This is the name of the first book published in 1996 by the New Moment’s founder. When asked what he actually does in business, Mr. Sakan answered:


“I work with a pretty woman. An Ad is something that can be described as pretty woman. She seduces us with her look and, at the same time, hides a lot more behind. As any other charming lady, she’s got many faces: she’s both rational and intuitive; a scientist and artist; business woman, precise and tech-savvy. She’s also unpredictable: we never know if we’ll succeed with her - sometimes it just works and clients fall for her; sometimes not. I respected her and was in love with her. She knew how to appreciate it. After all, as every beautiful and smart woman does.”


The New Moment team gathered people with ideas, creative souls - all together in this changed environment. The purpose of the agency was to introduce advertising and good taste to the global community - working locally. One of the best steps to promote advertising in the Balkans region was establishing Belgrade Festival (2004). Belgrade festival


This was the first festival about design and commercials (better said, advertising festival). It lasted for the whole month and the vision from that time is totally adjustable in today’s advertising:


“Globalization comes along with technology and I totally accept this reality by collaborating with the global world. I also know that, in this world, you are successful if you follow their standards - but - with your own, individual experience.” 


In one of the interviews for weekly magazine “Vreme” (eng. “Time”), Dragan Sakan described himself as a professional but also independent individual. What he does is everywhere in the world considered as the essence of freedom. This romantic intellectual, way ahead of his age in ex-Yugoslavia, was successful in bridging creativity and recognizable design in the post-war countries. In this way, SEE region gained something completely opposite of a bad propaganda. Advertising has become something natural to this region. Great projects and creativity were awarded many times. Two most important visual proofs of the outstanding and multi-decade work are: New Moment magazine for art & advertising (in the Balkans) and Gallery New Moment. The gallery is very active and hosts regular exhibitions in Belgrade.



But what happened to the Pretty Woman in the Balkans later on? In 2010, not long before he died, Mr. Sakan explained the concept of a new/modern Pretty Woman. I will bring you some of the most important parts of it (citations):

Lady from the West, global Pretty Woman that we dreamed about all the time, announced her coming. And finally crossed the Berlin Wall.

We dedicated a lot of imagination, ideas and thoughts to her. She looked fascinating and charming.


But, she didn’t actually look that way. She requested lower intellectual operations, adaptations, synchronizations,...

She wanted a high price for selling cigarettes, whiskey, chewing gums, and to buy cheap the companies, people, souls.

Instead of tango, striptease we had!


Traditional Pretty Woman was surrounded by local transitional heroes. In that moment the Balkans has got new marketing agencies.

This was the end of one huge and unique advertising era in this region. Current status of the New Moment agency - this holding company still operates in all countries. Run by local creative teams, in my opinion the best are in Macedonia, Bulgaria and Kosovo. New Moment Skopje office worked with the best design background which is visible on their website. All offices do advertising, design (print and digital) and event promotion. The headquarters remained in Belgrade.


Often awarded, New Moment still exists, despite many new advertising agencies in the region. What I lack in their presentation is more media transparency and online presence. In this digital world where social media is a must, one serious advertising agency with impressive background and tradition needs to keep pace with the new, digital technologies. It must stay globally competitive by being more active on social media - creating a sustainable and long-term strategy. Moreover, a regional festival shall bring another stamp to the first serious advertising company in the SEE. Everybody in business or marketing world needs to know who they are.


For Mr. Sakan, Advertising is a New Renaissance. It’s a new form, in a new world, with many different faces. “She’s intuitive and rational. Accurate and chaotic. Both multimedia and interactive.” And this is exactly what modern advertising is - a new lady attracted by interactive approaches and ready to give herself to the world of individuals we like to call “customers”.


The video below illustrates advertising in the Balkans. A real beauty.



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