Joakim Vars Nilsen is a strategist, copywriter and entrepreneur who founded FF Media Group As in October 2003 where he was CEO, a company that launched digital in house magazines: PlayMusicMagazine – The Music Magazine On The Internet, Probe Magazine – Game Culture and in September 2004 a digital magazine portal: MagWerk – No More Papercuts. FF Media Group As also produced client magazines for Hachette Fillipicha(NL & DE) : ElleGirl Digital, Telenor djuice(NO): dmag, Netcom(NO): Nettopp, SAS, Eurostar(FR), Endemol(NL): BigBrother, Warner(NL), Future Snowboarding(US).
From December 2006 he was Creative Director for Blogform Digital Magazines GmbH, a company that acquired the assets of FF Media Group. Blogform focuses mainly on developing software and producing client magazines for clients such as Time Inc(US): People, People En Espanol, InStyle and Nickelodeon(US): Nick Magazine. He has previously worked as a copywriter in the advertising business, been involved in the start up of two print magazines: Hot Rod and Fjords Magazine. And worked as Creative Advisor in the idea agency Screenplay. Currently working at MediaFront – A Part of McCann Worldgroup as a Creative Strategist. He is educated as a Copywriter from Westerdals School Of Communications and autodidact.
Please view full CV here: LinkedIn
My “Real Story”
I was brought into this world in Bergen, Norway in 1973, by parents who had their main interests in creative cultures. In other words they were hippies when they got me, and although sometimes I wished I had a more stable upbringing – I am truly grateful for the valuable experience and impulses a youth full of music, books and traveling gave me.
After finishing High School in Tønsberg I moved to the capital of Norway, Oslo where I started at Handelshøyskolen BI i Oslo and also started as a drummer in a band in 1992. The problem was that I had so many ideas that in the end I was making all the songs, playing bass and lead vocal. Looking back, I can understand the frustration of my band mates having to endure me insisting on how it should be played. Sorry guys. I also soon realized that finance studies was not right for me as I spent more time being a culture editor for the schools student paper than attending classes and when Håvard, one of the guys in the band, introduced me to his school: Westerdals School Of Communication, I decided to apply there. 600 applications and 50 people were picked. Luckily I was one of them and I found my direction in life. I was home and have never looked back. Music is still deeply attached to my soul, and from time to time I find the urge to create some weird sentimental electronic music on my lap top using Reason.
I studied Copywriting at Westerdals where I found an Art Director to work with who was great, Øyvind Boland. We founded our own little company Boland vs Nilsen and worked with all the clients we could get our hands on while finishing our last year at school in 1999. Then a guy I love, Jan Walaker, asked me if I could help him with his start-up of Hot Rod, a fantastic art magazine still out there today. I joined him and learned a lot about art, sales, distribution and had many inspiring discussions about life in general. It was an amazing year.
Then one day the infamous photographer, Per Heimly, asked me if I wanted to be part of a new magazine start-up called Fjords Magazine which would focus on fashion and lifestyle. It was a wild journey where we managed to get a lot of hype and press attention. In 2003 it was distributed in 16 countries and it won The Magazine Of The Year Award in Norway 2002, we where getting calls from famous designers and photographers from all around the world and even Sweden – who generally despise everything from its little brother Norway, embraced the magazine; “Forget Liv Ullmann and Norwegian Salmon – Fjords Magazine is the hottest magazine out there today.”
By 2003 I was tired of the fashion business and had to do something else. I thought internet was very little esthetic and user-friendly at the time, and still do – and came up with the idea of a digital magazine with pictures, articles, music videos, live interviews, moveable illustrations, artistic design and sound. Like “ordinary” cool printed magazines. Magic added.
I worked with the idea while working at “Corporate Religion” author´s advertising company Kunde & co and participated in an innovation contest at Oslo Innovation Center where I won the first price for the business idea in October 2003. Knowing that my strong field is the creative part I found an accountant, lawyer and a manager and started the company in October 2003. January 2004 our first digital magazine PlayMusicMagazine was launched. Long story short I was running around the world speaking at media conferences and meeting with possible clients with the aim to fund our own development – especially since I knew we needed a community to add to our magazines and after making the classical mistake of having to many employees for our own development I realized in late 2006 that we needed funding. In December 2006 Blogform acquired the assets of the company and I started to work as a Creative Director, working mostly with some amazing designers and flash developers and leading client projects with Time Inc and Nickelodeon. As the company moved more and more to become a software orientated company I found myself wanting a more creative challenge and decided to leave early 2008.
That brings me up to date. Currently I have just finished wrapping up my last work and I am spending time touching base and figuring out what my next challenge should be. All I know for sure is that I would love to work with skilled and curious people who are passionate about their work and who would appreciate my experience as a strategist, entrepreneur and copywriter.
UPDATE I – 2008
Well I could not sit still for long. I have started working for an idea agency, Screenplay, who offered me an interesting opportunity and consists of great people. People who engineers market leaders by helping to create participants not only receivers. As Helge says; A Brand is our personal reflection on an experience(the new model) influenced by our anticipation(the old model). Advertising is more than great stories… Finally getting the rational tools for my ideas.
UPDATE II – 2009
Sorry to say, but the financial crisis hit Screenplay – with the result of downsizing. I will miss some brilliant people, especially Helge, Knut, Christian, Øyvind, Silje, Jan Ove, Are, Victoria, Jonathan…well, I could keep on going. Learned a lot, always a good thing. So that brings me to where I am now. MediaFront is a fantastic company with people I admire, and they offered me the opportunity to pursuit my main interest within my field. So here I am.
UPDATE III – 2011
Mediafront was acquired by McCann Worldgroup last summer. Working as Creative Strategist at Mediafront – A Part of Mcann Worldgroup AS learning tons of stuff due to being challenged continuously by inspirational colleagues and clients. For more updates, visit my LinkedIn Profile or read my blog.