“The man who transformed propaganda into the business of advertising in the Balkans.” – Advertising Age, 1995
When asked why he went into the profession, he replied:
“In the first article I read about advertising, I came across a quote by someone who, I am now aware, was one of the greatest creatives in the world. He spoke about how he had wanted to become a psychologist, a writer, a journalist, a designer, a director, a scientist and a businessman. And how he had never been any of these, but had been all of them by working in an advertising agency. This thought set my life moving and turned it around. It made me fall in love with advertising.”
Dragan Sakan inspired a multitude of people, companies, and products to shine their brightest. His motivation and advice compelled many to choose advertising and reach for the stars.
In the course of 35 years in this business, Saki created one of the largest regional agencies in the Balkans; he was a member of the global creative board of Saatchi and Saatchi Worldwide, jury president at EPICA, Golden Drum, Moscow, and many other festivals. He wrote three books on advertising and was the founder of the Ideas Campus (School of Creative Thinking) and the BeogrAD festival; he launched New Moment magazine, and worked tirelessly on educating young professionals at many lectures and panel discussions. He won a lifetime achievement award - the Charter for Peace (Povelja za mir), in Sarajevo and the Acknowledgement of the Association of Psychologists (Priznanje Udruženja psihologa).
He created many legendary advertising campaigns for local and international companies.
He spent the first five years of his career (1975-1980) working in any place where the agency’s spirit could be felt, and later:
1981-1985: Worked at the Borba advertising company
1985-1990: Director and Creative Director at Studio Marketing Delo, Belgrade
1990-2002: Founder, Director and Creative Director of the privately owned agency SMS, which was a member of Saatchi and Saatchi, at the time the largest, most creative, and most profitable agency in the world.
2003-2007: President of New Moment New Ideas Company, Balkans
2007-2010: President of New Ideas Holding Young and Rubicam
After 20 years of life in advertising, he wrote a book on the development of the profession in this region, a book about how, together with friends, he led and created the first agency for integral marketing communications in the Balkans. It is a book about people similar to himself who managed to elevate advertising from the status of an annoying, uneducated sales woman to that of a refined lady. To a pretty, smart, crazy – in other words, integral woman. Pretty woman.
"Had we created the agency in a different social and political system, maybe it would have gone faster. Had we lived in other markets, the agency might have been bigger. Had I had more experience, maybe the company would have been better. But what is unique and independent of these conditions is the inner feeling that we have created an agency which suits us.
Many theoreticians compare the job of building a company to that of creating a work of art. The difference is that the creators of companies represent an integral part of their esthetic product. Judging by the excitement, the pride, the fact that we gave the projected images real life, we cannot disagree with the comparison of the theoreticians. This may be why we want to display our work to the public.
There is a saying that those who have made it in the agency business have succeeded in the A league. I would add: those who have made it in the Balkans, in these times, servicing the largest international clients and capturing international festival awards, have succeeded in the NBA.
Success is not measured in staff rolls, but by the quality of the people. When a client instructs his business to our agency, he can be sure that he will have working for him 250 motivated professionals, with worldwide know-how, a local soul, and a philosophy that nothing is impossible, who prove and improve themselves every day.
People like that also create a specific agency spirit. In a friendly and family-like atmosphere, everybody is playing the same motif. But everybody has the right to a solo (which may come at an unexpected or unwelcome moment, though).
A real Family Jazz Band for which nothing is impossible. Not even to create an agency that is worldly, regional and local at the same time.
“The unique personality of Dragan Sakan is also reflected in the fact that he is an exceptional manager. He developed his advertising agency from a small reach and a few people to an agency with a very complex organisation and structure and more than a hundred employees.“
Prof. Ivan Štajnberger, PhD
“His myriad of talents and creative energy are recognized throughout the entire region and much further afield. No one has done as much for advertising in the Balkans and given it acknowledgment on the global stage as Dragan Sakan.