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5 Minutes with… Toby Pschorr


The DDB Germany Group CEO on his upbringing in Munich, lessons he learned working in London’s advertising industry and how he’s organising the group around consumer behaviour

5 Minutes with… Toby Pschorr

In March 2022, Toby Pschorr took over as CEO of all agency brands of the DDB Group in Germany. 

A German who’s spent the majority of his career in the UK before returning to his home nation, he’s worked for DDB for over 12 years in various positions, most recently as CEO of Team Voltage, Volkswagen’s custom-built agency where he is responsible for more than 500 employees in 16 agencies. He’s also done stints with companies including BMW, BBH and Fallon. During his career, he’s worked on brands such as Škoda, Audi, Sony, Coca-Cola, Vodafone, Unilever and Nestlé.

LBB’s Alex Reeves caught up with Toby to hear about how his background has shaped him, why he’s fascinated by clients’ businesses and how he plans to “choreograph” the talent he leads across Germany.

LBB> Where did you grow up and what sort of kid were you? Did any of that carry forward to your professional life?

Toby> I grew up in the outskirts of Munich on a council estate. Both of my parents were studying, so money was tight. But it was a very close-knit community, where everyone looked out for each other and the kids had a lot of freedom to roam the estate safely. As a result, I had a lot of independence early on in my life. Growing up, my dream was to be able to provide for my family without financial troubles and I carried that ambition and tenacity forward into my working life.

LBB> How did you first get into advertising?

Toby> After my A-levels I moved to London to study International Business. During my studies I spent a year at BMW as an intern, wrote my dissertation there and planned to join BMW’s trainee program. However, at the end of my studies, I followed my heart and stayed in London. After I sent my dissertation to WCRS, they offered me three months’ work experience. Soon after, I worked on a pitch initiated by my former BMW colleagues and WCRS employed me permanently as an account executive. I spent more than eight formative and exciting years at the agency.

LBB> What is it about brands and advertising that's kept you in this career since then?

Toby> I’ve always loved what I was doing and never once been bored, not even for a minute. I visited factories where cars are built, experienced how chocolate biscuits are made, watched how sugar is refined. You get to know so many industries and sectors and learn more than any business school could ever teach you. Our job is to tell engaging stories about these products and services and shape perceptions for businesses and brands. It’s been a constant journey of learning and development.

LBB> You spent the first part of your advertising career in London before moving back to Germany. What did you bring back from the UK to the way you work in your home country?

Toby> I spent the majority of my career in London and only the last ten years in Berlin. There is a real entrepreneurial spirit in the advertising industry in the UK with a great sense of optimism and pride. In Germany we need a little more light-heartedness and self-confidence in what we do. We are blessed with amazing creative talents from all over the world and we should celebrate our industry more, both at home as well as internationally.

LBB> How would you characterise the German advertising industry when you joined it in 2012? And what is the biggest difference to how it works now?

Toby> Our industry has become more international, both in talent as well as in outlook. It feels like advertising is slowly catching up with Germany’s role as the largest economy in Europe.

LBB> When you began as CEO of DDB Germany, you spoke about "choreographing" expertise on behalf of your clients to help them navigate a complex and volatile environment. What are your priorities in how you're doing that?

Toby> The DDB Germany Group of Companies comprises nine agencies with more than 1,000 employees in total. Our priority was to implement a structure that allows us to scale quickly, whilst staying flexible and nimble. Collaboration sits at the heart of this approach. We are pursuing a strategy with ‘Centres of Excellence’, where our agencies focus on specific areas of expertise. Our task is to choreograph this expertise on behalf of our clients. Consumer behaviour sits at the core of this approach, around which we organise ourselves.

LBB> You've worked on Volkswagen a lot in your DDB/Team Voltage life, as well as doing previous stints at BMW, Škoda and Audi. What are the most valuable things you've learned about automotive advertising from that cumulative experience?

Toby> Automotive communication is very multifaceted. For most consumers, the purchase of a car is their most significant investment, only second to the purchase of a property. Around 95% of consumers are not in the market of actively considering a car purchase within the next six months. Hence automotive has to manage a long and complex consumer journey across multiple touchpoints. It is therefore a great sector to experience teamwork across varied skill sets. It raises your horizon beyond advertising into a more complex interaction of communication disciplines.

LBB> Agencies deal in taste and culture as much as they do in commerce. What in culture do you find personally inspiring or intriguing right now?

Toby> I assimilate most of my cultural learnings from my two children. My daughter studies animation in London and my son makes music in Berlin. Both have found their own creative passion and they keep me up to speed with the latest cultural trends. They are, for me, incredibly inspiring.


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DDB Group Germany, Fri, 26 Aug 2022 11:21:25 GMT