Kia Heinnen

Art Director Wieden + Kennedy Amsterdam

How did you discover you wanted to work in advertising and what has been your career path to date?

I was studying Natural Medicine and discovered that my creative side was being completely neglected. I decided to swap herbs for a Wacom and found a course that would teach me a thing or two about the Ad game. I love travelling and meeting new people and I knew that this field would allow me to work with interesting folk across various creative disciplines around the world. I started my career as an Art Director at DDB in Sydney, and then flew over the ditch to Colenso BBDO in Auckland where I stayed for a few of years before making the leap to Wieden and Kennedy in Amsterdam.

Tell us about the creative culture at Wieden & Kennedy Amsterdam.

W+K has a contagious energy and culture. The people are absolutely bananas (in a good way of course) and the constant stream of creativity is something that continues to inspire. There are illustrators, comedians, artists, photographers, filmmakers and more all under one roof. Everyone works as a collective and has one main goal, great work. You know you are working at the right place when you are constantly surprised and inspired by the people around you.

How do you describe yourself as a creative and the work you do.

I like to push the boundaries and never take the easy road on a brief. It’s nice to tackle something from various angles, see how far you really can push yourself and the client. I believe that a good idea should challenge the way we think about something. Ideally I want to create work that makes people feel something, and without sounding too righteous that makes the world a better place. Whether that always happens is another story but I think it’s worth trying.

When are you most creative?

When I’m travelling out of my comfort zone.

Select 3 recent campaigns from your portfolio of work to share with our audience


Levi’s Rear View Girls

^ Here is a link to the Case Study

P&G – Camayzing

Who have been some of your most significant career mentors?

This is a hard question, as I have been lucky in meeting incredible people from all over the place. The weird and whacky people are what make this industry what it is. There have been many over the years, but if I was put on the spot I’d say Nick Worthington, my ECD at Colenso. He taught me how to recognise good ideas and how to be graceful in the process.

Which ads (past or present) would you highlight as examples of creative excellence?

One that stands out to me is the Trillion Dollar campaign for The Zimbabwean newspaper.

The newspaper was driven into exile for reporting on how the Mugabe regime had rigged elections, caused poverty, disease and the total collapse of the economy. So they used one of the most eloquent symbols of Zimbabwe’s collapse – the Z$ trillion dollar note, a note that can’t actually buy anything, not a loaf of bread and certainly not any flashy advertising. They repurposed the bank notes and used them as printing paper for handouts, billboards and posters

I also still get a good laugh out of Bud Light’s work for Real Men of Genius, it is both ridiculous and hilarious. Especially Mr Really Bad Toupee Wearer.

What’s the best way to overcome a creative slump?

Switch off and get inspired. Stop thinking about solving the brief at hand and put your brainpower to something that doesn’t involve brainpower! Get away from your laptop.

Any advice for young creatives looking to make an impression with their portfolio?

Quality over quantity. If you have 3 stellar pieces, stick with those and make them incredible, don’t feel you need to fill the pages with everything possible. You will end up making a bigger impression with three amazing pieces than 9 ok pieces. And of course, be yourself.