Dörte Spengler-Ahrens






The 2018 New York Festivals Executive Jury, is an elite dream team of Global Chief Creative Officers and C-Suite creative executives. Words like iconic, visionary, accomplished and influential, come to mind when describing these prominent award-winning creative leaders. They will assemble this April in New York City for 4 days of live judging across all mediums—one panel of advertising giants, 30+ strong, all coming together to select the World’s Best Advertising®.

Executive Jury member Dörte Spengler-Ahrens is Chief Creative Officer at Jung von Matt/SAGA. Dörte began her path in advertising by studying Visual Communications, she then started her career as an Art Director and switched to copywriting.

After working in several agencies, she went to work at Jung von Matt where she became a Creative Director after only three years.

In 2001, Dörte returned as CCO and established the agency Jung von Matt/Spree in Berlin with two partners and then founded the first international branch of Jung von Matt: Jung von Matt/9.

She later went on to launch Jung von Matt/Fleet with clients like Zalando, Sixt, Mercedes-Benz and DER SPIEGEL. As of November 2013, she took on the direction of Jung von Matt/Elbe with partners with additional clients like NIVEA, OBI DIY, Techniker Krankenkasse, EIS.de, Jim Beam and more. By the end of 2016, the agency was rebranded and is now Jung von Matt/SAGA. 

Dörte is one of the most awarded German creatives, presidium member of the Art Director’s Club (ADC), board member of the ADC Festival and Congress Hamburg, as well as a judge for the most important international award juries within the communication sector. 

Being a Juror:

New York Festivals: Why did you decide to accept the invite to NYF’s Executive Jury?

Dörte Spengler-Ahrens: The NYF is one of the most respected awards in the world. The Executive Jury is a selection of the most known and highest awarded worldwide creatives. I felt very honoured to be invited and accepted immediately. Last but not least it will be a little bit like a reunion of jury colleagues I have had the pleasure to meet in other juries before.

New York Festivals: What are you most looking forward to with this experience?   

Dörte Spengler-Ahrens: I can’t wait to see the best creative work of the world.

Working in Advertising:

Tell us an experience (or two) that shaped the course of your career.

Dörte Spengler-Ahrens: I always wanted to be good in what I am doing. I am living after the words: work must be more fun than fun. I think Woody Allen said that- I am not a fan of him but this sentence nails it down.

Best client story ever?

Dörte Spengler-Ahrens: When I sang out a long song which was very very provocative in its lyrics and strange in the melody to 15 board members of the German public transportation members. 4 years later the ADC Germany now rewarded this client as client of the year.

What is the most outlandish request you’ve ever gotten at work?

Dörte Spengler-Ahrens: Unfortunately, these questions occur more and more: hi, we have a budget of 200.000 €, please make film concepts- ah and the budget also includes production costs, agency fee and media….

What’s an idea you were excited about, but just couldn’t carry out because of logistics?

Dörte Spengler-Ahrens: We wanted to have cats to shop in a grocery store like humans but… we succeeded! The most shared German video 2017.



The world may have changed since you started in the business. What kinds of accounts were you working on back then vs. now?

Dörte Spengler-Ahrens: To be honest the most old-fashioned client I worked on then was a newspaper- but it’s still Germanys number one.

Favorite Ads:

Share an ad you are particularly proud of. 

Dörte Spengler-Ahrens: My favourite ad at the moment is the BVG adidas shoe case.


Share an ad that changed the way you view the business. 

Dörte Spengler-Ahrens: Playstation https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6Bqq38WZctA

Share your favorite ad that illustrates how advertising can change the world and tell us why you love it.

Dörte Spengler-Ahrens: Dove real beauty- sketches, Always like a Girl and Meet Graham.

Creative Leadership:

What do you look for when hiring new talent? 

Dörte Spengler-Ahrens: For passion and the love to work.

What are some missteps you see from up-and-coming creatives that might impact or stall their career if that don’t learn a better way? What are some new things you are happy to see?

Dörte Spengler-Ahrens: The dedication is key- some of younger people who need to be motivated are in the wrong position and work in the wrong branch. Love what you do and do what you love- or look for something else.

New York Festivals: What kinds of things (positive or negative) did you learn about being a creative leader from people you worked for along the way? Anything you wish your creative leaders had told you?

Dörte Spengler-Ahrens: The most important in work is the people. Everything else is unimportant. I always thought I was doing quite well but then I became a mother and my child taught me lessons every day. I learnt to love, care and be empathetic- to accept weaknesses and embrace them, to love people to be crazy and do crazy things. My leaders were always very job focused, unemotional and never wanted to praise us- there is a German Saying: not being criticized is already being praised- what a bullshit.

New York Festivals: What’s the toughest part of your job?

Dörte Spengler-Ahrens: Some clients who do not trust their agency.

New York Festivals: Favorite part?

Dörte Spengler-Ahrens: Having done a great piece of work and realizing it will be a success.

This and That:

New York Festivals: If we asked for three adjectives to describe you, what would people who know you say?

Dörte Spengler-Ahrens: crazy creative loving mother.

New York Festivals: What are you most excited about in 2018?

Dörte Spengler-Ahrens: To have holidays.

New York Festivals: Who’s a creative icon you admire and why?

Dörte Spengler-Ahrens: Jonathan Glaser, Frank Budgeon, Daniel Kleinman, fantastic directors.

Picasso, Erwin Wurm, Bangsky fantastic artists.

Elon Musk, Steve Jobs fantastic entrepreneurs and visionaries.

New York Festivals: How do you find balance (or do you?) between your high-powered job and life/family/outside of-work fun? Any ‘secrets’ you can share?

Dörte Spengler-Ahrens: Family first. Job first. :-)

I live the rich life of loving my job and loving my family

the secret is: every Friday a date with my husband in a fancy restaurant, every night I am cooking family meals, enough holidays to spend together, a dog.

EJNewYork Festivals