Panos Sambrakos

"Successful advertising is both art and marketing"

The creative director of the advertising company Ogilvy Greece, Panos Sambrakos, unfolds his experiences from his many adventurous years in the field of advertising, describes what qualifications an advertiser needs to have, talks about his love of cinema which was his first driving force, for the information that is always out there, about the relationship between advertising and brands with social issues and about the required harmonious coexistence of art and marketing in a successful advertising campaign.

Panos Sambrakos

Panos Sambrakos is one of these lucky people who managed to do the job they loved since childhood. He is happy that he does a job that allows him to touch, entertain, surprise and arouse the interest and emotion of the public. As head of the team responsible for numerous high-profile advertising campaigns, films and commercials that have gone viral, he is blessed to do a job that he would do even if he wasn't paid - but let's not let the cat out of the bag… 

By Christina Katsantoni 

The "germ" of advertising

The current Chief Creative Officer of Ogilvy Greece, Panos Sambrakos, grew up in the 80s and passionately loved cinema and electronic games from an early age. He used to watch 3-4 movies a day, read cinematography magazines, look for behind the scenes information, while at the same time he started studying computer science, wanting to know how his favourite video games were made.    

When he came into contact with the Internet in 1994, at a time when the Internet  was limited to black screens with white letters, he seized the opportunity to satisfy his love of cinema, gathering information and connecting with people from all over the world. He created his first site out of this love and out of his special love for James Bond, named "Mr. Kiss Kiss Bang Bang!', which quickly managed to win over audiences, win international awards and garner mentions in major international media such as CNN and the New York Times.  

This is how the first chapter of his career began, initially as a Web Designer at HellasNet. But the "germ of advertising" had followed him since he was asked to manage the site for James Bond commercially. He set his sights on working in advertising and from 2002 he took over the creative department of HellasNet and then the wider Interactive Marketing department of FORTHnet, contributing decisively to the development of the company in the field of online advertising.

With numerous awards under his belt, including the 2004 Grand Ermis for FORTHnet's 'Hens' campaign, he moved to OgilvyOne in May 2005, where the adventure continued with accolades, commercial successes and many thrills.

One of the first virals in cinema

In the development of this course, Panos Sambrakos managed to make his dream come true: to make campaigns that surprised, moved and became viral (like the love story with the two dogs that meet again), to make films and documentaries that were loved and are repeated every year (such as "Love in the end", "The Real Robokids", "Don't let me go" etc.), to do campaigns that overturned stereotypes and set new foundations, to see his projects break records and to win top prizes at Cannes and other international events and above all to make people feel as he himself felt when he was a child rolling his eyes when watching movies.  


Both Art and Commerce

As an expert in branded entertainment, i.e. the efforts of brands to produce content that people want to see, so that at the same time the message of each brand's philosophy can also be conveyed to them, Panos Sambrakos clarifies: "The most essential word is entertainment. Branded follows". The actual question is "to speak to the heart of the viewer".

And as he often tells his clients, he is not so much concerned with what they want, but with what their own clients and final recipients of a campaign want. Because, as he explains, advertising, at its best, isn’t a contradiction, but a happy coexistence of two different poles: art and commerce. 

Panos Sambrakos is happy that he does a job, which can sometimes deprive him of time from his wife, son and daughter who land him in the joy and entertainment of offline life, but at the same time it’s a job that moves and fulfills him. Not because it’s a famous industry but because it keeps him alive, doing what he’s always loved.