Aki Toivonen

Aki Toivonen

Creative Strategist at TBWAHelsinki
Helsinki Area, Finland, Finlandia


At first, creativity meant drawing. Drawing basically anything a healthy young boy would draw: eagles, dragons, anything that flies basically. But I had a slight inclination towards perfectionism. I would draw a hundred Donald Ducks just to get the right angle to the head. But you can’t really draw a perfect circle when you’re nine years old. You don’t have the motoric skills. So I turned to writing.

Writing, that’s something I did a lot at some point, just for fun. Poems, short stories, the shorter the better. The concise form left more power to each individual word. Maybe I was already prepping for writing taglines. But I didn’t really know how to write until I learned language. ‘Which language?’ You ask. Language, I say. It was the study of linguistics that really showed me what makes languages work the way they do, how a tiny morpheme could change a phrase completely and a single word draw a whole different discourse into play. It was eye opening, absolutely fascinating, but there wasn’t much of a profession to be made there, not to me at least. So I looked elsewhere.

I’ve always been interested in great marketing, even to my disappointment; at school I did a test to see in which field I’d be most suited and it said marketing. It all seemed interesting except for one thing: they said I’d need to go to business school and that’s what my mom would've wanted. So it wasn’t an option. There’s always a rebel in a creative mind, right? (I would eventually go to business school after getting my first degree, but at least I had made a point of some kind there somewhere).

So here I am now. And what I do is that I try to take all this that I’ve learned about language, business, branding, environmental economics, 19th century American literature, and the theory of comic discourse (in French) and turn it into great marketing concepts, earth-shattering branding strategies, or into a completely decent copy.

Wow, at this length, this wasn’t much of a summary, was it?

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