”Life has taught me more than any book or class I ever took at school or university…”
When I was a little kid I always passed a bakery on my way to school. Unfortunately, we were poor and I never had enough money to buy anything. One day I had an idea. Every time I saw the baker cutting the beautiful pieces of cake from the baking sheet I observed that there was always some remaining on the edges. So, I offered the baker to sell me those pieces for my 5 cents I had with me. luckily he agreed and I could from now on buy so many different cakes every day and had enough that I even could share with my classmates. There is always a way to turn an obstacle into an opportunity… “How to buy a big box of cakes with no money?” I started my career in business at the beginning of the 1990s as a personal computer expert. I enjoyed that work, especially after the company I was working for decided to change from terminals to thousands of PCs. It was the time when Microsoft Windows computers were disrupting the traditional mainframe computers and I was one of the few experts in this field. Ctrl+Alt+Delete "who needs a mainframe, when you have a PC?" It feels good to be disruptive and innovative After watching the movie Videodrom I dreamt that the monitor and keyboard of my computer had melted into my knees and belly. This nightmare brought about the realization that IT was something I was no longer suited for. It later became clear that my real vocation was marketing. I took an offer to work in the marketing department of a young and innovative local radio station in Berlin. Videodrome "A nightmare changed my life!" Why I switched my job from IT to Marketing. I was asked this question by my German girlfriend’s mother when I was 19. She was worried about my Turkish identity. People who are bi-cultural are often confronted by Germans and in their home country with the prejudice that they are “culturally incomplete” – like a glass half-empty. However, for bi-cultural people, the glass is not half-empty, but indeed more than ful - it's filled with two cultures! We can't describe ourselves in percentages. It's like putting different fruits in a mixer: it's later impossible to tell how much of one fruit or the other is in the mix. BI-CULTURAL "How much % of you is German and Turkish?" I learned very early that people fear the things they don’t know. This is a sentence that I have heard very often. On the one hand, I felt honored to be singled out, but at the same time I became aware of the amount of prejudice in German society against everything non-German. And I decided to use my with Turkish background in my work. I realized that the immigrants with different cultural backgrounds were a special kind of consumer that made them very attractive potential consumers for certain industries. I realized that there was a huge potential for ethnic and multi-cultural marketing in Germany. PREJUDICE "You speak very good German, Akin!" Cultural prejudice hidden in compliments In 1997 I coined the word “Deutschtürke” to describe German identity and Turkish descent. Instead of calling myself “a Turkish immigrant” or “German citizen with Turkish roots,” which was how Turkish migrants were referred to in the 1990s, I introduced this word to express not only my own bi-cultural identity, but also that of the Turkish radio station which I had built and lead as managing director from 1997-2001. This was the first time in Germany that the word was used and it soon became a word to define a new generation of immigrants. SELF-KNOWLEDGE "I am bi-cultural!" I am driven by culture One in five people living in Germany immigrated from another country resulting in a diverse and multi-cultural society. Paradoxically, advertising in Germany doesn’t reflect this demographic. Within the last 20 years, from 1998-2018, I have endeavoured to bring an understanding of multi-cultural marketing to the German market and realized many successful media and advertising projects. “Germany is a multicultural society” How advertising became multicultural in Germany.
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