Project i

Project isince 2012

Car manufacturers reinvent themselves approximately every other century. What happens when that happens? With heartfelt respect for the engineering feat, communication is tasked with translating the revolutionary into reality. In other words: To land the UFO.

The “i Team” has been working since 2007 to make the vision of sustainable, individual premium-quality mobility a reality. Down to the smallest detail. Even before production started, those in the know realized: The BMW i brand will initiate the automotive paradigm shift. In series.


But the consumer has to follow and see the car in a new light. The communicative challenge: Deconstructing patterns that have had 125 years to become manifest, building trust and transforming non-committal curiosity into determined readiness. In 2012, Dorten assumes the role of worldwide lead agency for BMW i. Unfolds and executes the global appearance of the sub-brand.

Together with BMW we develop the character of the youthful brand step by step. Two years ahead of the product launch, we are starting to prepare the public for the topic of electric mobility, exploring it from a variety of angles. We use countless motifs, shot in Munich, London, Miami, Los Angeles and San Francisco, to abandon the somewhat artificial visual tonality of BMW, presenting the “i”s in their natural environment: Where life is happening.



Headlines and copy texts sum up what electric mobility is all about. In cooperation with many partners and service providers we develop adverts and produce billboards in New York, London and Munich. We capture anticipation on film and shoot a TVC with 200 extras, two automotive protagonists and a helicopter in Chicago.

The campaign brings BMW i in touch with opinion leaders all over the world and positions it as a pioneer in the field of sustainable mobility. The numbers speak for themselves: Approximately 10,000 orders come in for the BMW i3 shortly after its presentation. The i8 is sold out before production even starts – for a whole year. To be continued.

BMW Art Journey

BMW Art Journeysince 2014

An automaker helps shift art sponsorship into a new dimension – and not for the first time. Just the job for Dorten. With the BMW Art Journey the brand is again making a contribution of its own to contemporary art, positioning itself as a significant player at the interface between art and society.

Aspiring to an exceptional level of cultural engagement is a shared attribute that continues to underpin the bond between BMW and Dorten. Following the unique “travel guide” for art lovers, now the BMW Art Journey, organised in collaboration with Art Basel, is sending artists on their travels.


From Albrecht Dürer to Marcel Duchamp and Joseph Beuys, outstanding artists have regularly embarked on voyages of discovery and self-discovery to foreign parts. In the BMW Art Journey, BMW and Art Basel are providing a new take on a traditional format. Our guides in this case are selected young artists, each setting out on their travels through time and space with their own personal goals and ambitions, accessing a variety of societies, interpreting their symbols and codes. A view to the outside.

To render the essence of the BMW Art Journey accessible we chose a very personal perspective that we call “Seeing the world through an artist’s eyes.” At the levels of both content and design, this guiding principle runs throughout the overall concept and realisation of the various media. In line with this principle, the dramaturgy of the journey takes on the nature of a manifesto, which can also be interpreted as a tribute to the concept artist Lawrence Weiner:


This exceptional format calls for a kind of communication that addresses exclusive partners, artists and an art-loving public alike as equals and shifts art sponsorship into a new dimension. Dorten, too, sets off to make a film trailer that introduces the format with impressive images. A sophisticated book examines topics, motives and subjects surrounding the artists’ journey. These measures are accompanied by a website and intense ad motifs created by Austrian photographer Daniel Gebhart de Koekkoek.

With the Art Journey, BMW has created a sustainable initiative that is quite unique in the world of art and addresses professional artists and a culture-loving public to an equal extent, once again displaying the brand’s innovative capabilities in inspiring style.



Global Impressions

Global Impressions2011

How do you make a portrait of a global company? How do you reduce the complexity, and tear down the restraints of space and time? With the help of 125 photographers, telling the story of the gigantic company in 125 pictures taken at 125 locations. In one single – global – second.


The story begins in 1886. In Stuttgart, where Robert Bosch opens the “Werkstätte für Feinmechanik und Elektrotechnik” (Workshop for precision and electrical engineering). Decades of innovation and expansion follow. Bosch weaves a net spanning the globe. Connecting 300,000 people in over 260 locations. And then there is 2011. The year of the 125th anniversary. A moment to pause. To think about the past, to prepare for the future. But where is the contemplative space that could nurture such thoughts? A space that portrays the company and its almost incredible diversity? Bosch is everywhere and nowhere. Intangible despite its omnipresence.

Try capturing that. A company that is almost intangible. Almost. We detect the smallest common denominator that links all Bosch employees around the globe: Time. And we send out 125 photographers, to capture Bosch 125 times. All over the world. In one and the same second. 11am sharp, Central European Time.


Locations and people are united in this tiny fraction of time. We tell stories that are special, surprising and even moving. About Bosch. With Bosch. By Bosch. 125 times. The stories and photos together make up a book written in 26 languages, published on the occasion of the 125th anniversary with a print run of 450,000. Distributed to every single Bosch employee, personally. The title: “1 sec. Global Impressions of Bosch”.

Bosch calls the book and the accompanying measures “the most successful internal communication campaign of all time”. Thousands of Bosch clients regard this as something typical for Bosch: authentic, precise, like a clock-work. The gist is always the same: People would have never guessed just how diverse Bosch really is.


BMW Group
The Next 100 Years

BMW Group
The Next 100 Years2013

BMW is turning 100. An historic achievement. But also a unique opportunity to penetrate the collective consciousness even more. In an age of technological and cultural change this means above all switching perspective and actively training your focus on tomorrow. Over the space of a year, the BMW Group and Dorten develop a strategy and a slogan for the future. For the next 100 years: “THE NEXT 100 YEARS”.

There is more to BMW than just BMW. There is the company, the BMW Group. And there are the brands BMW, BMW Motorrad, Mini and Rolls-Royce. What they share: a success story that could have scarcely been predicted back in 1916. And so there can be no question: This anniversary is cause for celebration, for a major international event. A Big Bang.

But we won’t stop there: Anticipating and claiming the issues of tomorrow in an emancipated way, tapping into synergy effects and positioning the BMW Group in the long-term as an intellectual trailblazer. As “The driving force of mobility”.

We develop a communication strategy for the business and brands with distinct roles: In the future the BMW Group will position itself as a visionary innovator, prepare the public for the issues of tomorrow’s world of individual mobility. In turn the brands will make these pre-communicated issues of tomorrow visible and tangible, create identification and covetousness.

Whilst some think ahead, others are acting ahead. In practical terms this means that with its Next Agenda the BMW Group will spark discourse, bust prejudices and scepticism, incite anticipation and enthusiasm. At the same time, the brands will visualise all of this through products and services and make this come alive in the different brand characters. In a nutshell: brands and company alike interplay and mutually benefit each other in a lasting way. The activities marking the anniversary are closely intertwined with the strategy process, Maximilian Schöberl, Head of Communications at the BMW Group reports.

The dialog with society gives rise to lasting added value – for the next three generations no less. Happy birthday BMW!

Die Zeit
I’m an author for DIE ZEIT

Die Zeit
I’m an author for DIE ZEIT2014

The newspaper DIE ZEIT doesn’t have problems. Quite the opposite. If you have – or are – a strong voice, you don't need advertising promoting a product or your brand. But it wants to treat itself to something useful whilst at the height of its development. It wants to be more open and show how young it really is. In five portraits we visualize what it means to write for DIE ZEIT.


While the print market is undergoing a severe crisis, the paper is breaking its own records and its circulation is growing. Both in direct sales and in subscriptions, the ultimate benchmark. Approximately one third of all readers are also subscribers. The curious and those searching for meaning. The educated classes. Fans. Among them many young people who are prepared to clear their schedule to have time for DIE ZEIT every Thursday.

We detect: If you produce this much content every Thursday, communication has to come from within. DIE ZEIT is a strong voice. And has strong voices: through its authors. But it’s their names that tend to be overlooked or forgotten.

Time for a change: We meet five DIE ZEIT authors. We follow them to the locations of the stories they are currently working on. New York, Istanbul, Berlin. And we listen. We shoot calm and intense takes in subtle slow motion. Decelerate. Create a contemplative space for the spoken word. The result is five unusually long commercials shown only in selected cinemas and online. The accompanying print adverts follow the same discrete principle of being “non-ads”: Instead of brilliant copywriting and spectacular graphics there are journalistic texts and film-stills, providing background information on the movies.

For the first time, the campaign “Ich schreibe für DIE ZEIT” (“I’m an author for DIE ZEIT”) presents the people who unlock the topics of our world for us. We now know about the heterogeneous characters who put those black letters on grey-white paper … we even scour DIE ZEIT for their stories. We have changed. DIE ZEIT has as well. More approachable than ever.






BMW Art Guide

BMW Art Guidesince 2012

Sponsorship? Typically a cash transaction in exchange for image enhancement, without the sponsor actually contributing anything to the content itself. So who ultimately spends a fortune just to drown unnoticed in a sea of corporate logos? Atypically: Together with the art collector’s platform Independent Collectors, Dorten developed a brand new collaboration for BMW, raising the brand to a level alongside the most important private art collections worldwide.


Many premium brands are now jumping at the chance to enhance their image by association to the worlds of art, design and architecture. Which is good, especially for the creative individuals working within these areas. For the companies however, it’s often a one way street. More often than not, their commitment is limited to run-of-the-mill sponsorship, where a lot of money is charged for modest logo-placement. How can a brand contribute distinctive content that isn’t easy to copy?

The “BMW Art Guide by Independent Collectors” is the first guide to private, yet publicly accessible art collections all over the world. While traditional sponsorship restricts the company to the role of an “enabling partner”, BMW and the Art Guide set new standards for future cooperation’s between corporations and the world of art and culture.

In autumn 2016 the fourth, extended edition of the Art Guide will be published. Made up of 256 collections – both small and large, well known and the completely unknown. The concise publication takes the reader to over 43 countries and 182 cities – often off the beaten track.

The Art Guide’s refined, unpretentious design and its pioneering role have been well received by the media. It has established itself as a standard publication for the international art world and is available in the art section of every bookstore. It’s well on the way to becoming a “Michelin Guide” for private collections.

Shortcut Technologies

Shortcut Technologies2010 – 12

Felss: One holding company, six locations, four countries and a multitude of products, machines and services. We discover simple maxims in complex technologies and give them a universally understandable language.


Founded all the way back in 1905, Felss has been producing metalworking machines and different components for over a century. Its main buyer – the automotive industry. In 1988 Felss Rotaform is established, later it is joined by Felss Burger. Felss grows and expands – into Switzerland, the US, China. A global network, bespoke customer service and highly specialised expertise. And a holding company that has grown organically boasting many individual success stories. But lacking that one shared corporate culture.

Dorten recognises an ever-recurring and perplexing principle: thanks to scores of smart, unconventional solutions, Felss is able to make more out of less and as such to improve efficiency in many respects. A highly complex paradox, higher mathematics, squaring the circle. Or, as we call it: shortcuts.

We make this visible in the new claim: “Shortcut Technologies”. Bold, because shortcut could also be interpreted as cutting corners. Felss and Dorten harness this moment of confusion, and reinterpret it in the vein of an agent provocateur: Since time immemorial the company had been on the spot to explain products, machines, processes and itself. Now the claim invites you to engage in an open conversation about it.

To pinpoint the quality features shared by the Felss world as a whole, we develop a benefits alphabet – out of abbreviations or tags – which the individual companies realign their portfolios to. A process of corporate self-discovery. This allows us to give all the divisions of the international holding company a common language and makes previously undetected connections visible.

In concert with employees, copywriters and photographers we go one step further and write their own “shortcuts stories” with them. Content creation, which can be understood as an internal gelling process and at the same time is harnessed for external communication. Communication straight to the point. 2 in 1. Shortcuts.

Brand Film

Brand Film2014

How do you visualise the beginnings of a revolution? That unique moment on the cusp of something new, the starting shot, the breakthrough? For BMW i we showcase the first traits of the mobile transformation and its pioneers. We show drive that inspires and capture goose bumps on film.

It seemed inconceivable: electric cars as an everyday mode of transport. But electric mobility has arrived. It is already showing us today how we could be living our lives tomorrow – a life of connection, sustainability and being at one with the big wide world. Because this is about more than cars. Far more.

ConnectedDrive services via apps and smartphones as well as services for loading, sharing and parking transport the car into global, holistic contexts. At the same time they give rise to a new seamless, bespoke form of individual, urban mobility. A new understanding of independence is currently developing, shifting the attention away from the car and towards the act of driving, to the feeling of “being on the road”, the sheer experience of travelling. Sheer driving pleasure.


BMW i thus makes a dynamic step towards flexibility and freedom possible, which Dorten accompanies, supports and makes visible in a new brand film. At the heart are the i3 and i8. But we deliberately choose not to focus on the product, but far more on the moving moments experienced with it. We show avant-gardists and visionaries who epitomise forward thinking and progress. We show them on the road, in the city and at home. With their families. Their motivation and inspiration.

In the style of cinema verité, where a handheld camera gives the film a very realistic feel, we see through the eyes of these pioneers and create a sense of intimacy and authenticity. We are in the thick of the action. Show what life is like with e-mobility. Four very different characters and how they see i3 and i8. Intimate and real. Subtle moments of every-day life and beauty.

Bosch eBike Systems
Ride your eWorld

Bosch eBike Systems
Ride your eWorld2014 – 15

All over the world the eBike is being celebrated by politicians and urban planners alike as a trailblazing example of future-proof mobility. Bosch recognised the potential of the eBike and in 2009 set up a dedicated eBike Systems segment. As lead agency Dorten accompanies the young product division’s rise to market-leader status.

Thanks to mature and reliable technology from Bosch, in the space of just a few years the niche product transformed into an appealing, all-rounder lifestyle object for all generations, opening up new opportunities in the fields of sport, work and everyday life. Today, one bike in ten sold in Germany is an eBike. Managers are pedalling their Pedelecs to the office, tradesmen are swapping their vans for cargo e-bikes.


Since early 2014, we have been busy designing and refining the communications strategy for Bosch eBike Systems. We set perception goals, define topics and refine messages. We capture those personal moments at the human-machine interface when things click – when a spark lights a fire: emotionally, accessibly, credibly. The focus shifts from one application to the next as if by magic – bringing along new stories.

Convinced of the usefulness of the technology and the relevance of this subject, we find it easy to communicate the fascination it exudes. We position the system not only as a contemporary answer to the issue of urban mobility but also as a new dimension in off-road sports opportunities. Spreading driving pleasure and lifestyle, we are supporting the launch of a new and fully networked generation of eBikes and drumming up enthusiasm among manufacturers, specialist dealers and end customers for the topic of connectivity. In all of this we stage Bosch as a trailblazer for the entire industry and a driver of the Internet of Things. In sum: we present the world of Bosch eBike Systems in a way that prepares the ground for emotional access to the brand promise Technology for Life.



MR PORTER Edition2016

The London concept store Mr Porter teams up with BMW i to create an unusual special edition and includes the i3 as its first and only car in its product range. Dorten showcases it both fashionably and timelessly at once.

The concept of the Concept Store is long since established. The London online store Mr Porter – with 170 target countries and 25 million views per month – is one of the most successful of these hybrids combining department-store and boutique which arrange clothing, footwear and sportswear, travel accessories and cosmetics into sophisticated compositions in a digital shop window.

Alongside jackets and sneakers are natural hair shaving brushes, Leica cameras and leather-covered earphones, chess sets and manicure sets. Mr Porter provides the stage for more than 300 designers, including Alexander Mc Queen, Raf Simons or Givenchy. And: marking its 5th anniversary, now for Benoit Jacob, head designer of the BMW i3, too.

What might seem surprising at first – an i3 amidst clothing and accessories – at second glance is a logical next step: The exterior and interior of the Mr Porter edition both contain all kinds of fashion cues, artisanal details and ingenious surfaces. Class and meticulous attention to detail. Like a tailored suit.

Dorten develops the creative concept for the BMW i3 shoot and in tandem with the Berlin based photographer Amos Fricke creates an extraordinary visual world. Stripped away to the essentials, both contemporary and classic at once.

Together we showcase logos, leather, seams, wood and a fine gloss “brushstroke”, a tribute to the pinstripe. With the highest precision we thus strike a balance between pin-sharp clarity and artistic abstraction. Oscillating between matt and gloss, between the reflection of light and shade, between brilliant colour and subtle hues.

Photography so delicate you can almost reach out and touch the object yourself. And a sporty car that proves that it, too, can knock ‘em dead in an elegant outfit.


Wirtschaftsförderung Region Stuttgart
Move Back

Wirtschaftsförderung Region Stuttgart
Move Back2001

A country is missing its sons. Young IT engineers who the Stuttgart Region Economic Development Corporation wants to bring back to Germany. We direct a communicative invasion of the USA.

Berlin, 1941. Konrad Zuse makes a break-through. His Z3 is the first functioning digital computer – worldwide. A German is writing computer history, but hardly anyone knows about it. It’s other people and companies who will be remembered: It’s IBM which introduces the “S/360” in 1964, the first mass-produced computer. In 1977, Apple introduces the first home computer and comes up in the 80s with the first graphic user interface including a mouse.

An American success story that’s second to none. Written into the present: At the end of the 20th century, thousands are moving to the USA to become a part of that particular American Dream. 2.95 million programmers and IT engineers who are missing from Germany.

The Stuttgart Region Economic Development Corporation (Wirtschaftsförderung der Region Stuttgart or “WRS”) is looking for an online campaign that invites people to come back. But that just wouldn’t cut it. The sky is the limit. We write the – in the best sense of the term – fearless message, in the sky above the economic centres of the new economy: “Time to move – back to Germany”. Simultaneously, we produce footage for press and television for which the term “viral marketing” will be invented a few years later.

The media echo: Numerous American and domestic publications and broadcasting stations cover the German “call-back” extensively. At home, Der Spiegel, Handelsblatt and the television channel ZDF jump on board as well. This media coverage boosts the visibility of the campaign in a very short time to an equivalent media value of what was then 5 million German marks – with costs that were a meagre 5% of that figure.

The nature of the Move Back format, which encourages voluntary and sustainable multiplication, lays the conceptual foundation of Dorten. The starting point for each project is the meta-idea towering above all media.


Uzin Utz
Die Zukunft unter uns

Uzin Utz
Die Zukunft unter uns2010 – 11

The forgotten sector of construction chemistry. And a big anniversary. Which we are not just celebrating with a fabulous party but with relevant content. On the occasion of the 100th birthday of Uzin Utz we are taking a close look into the future of flooring. Finding a diamond in the rough.


Relevance, visibility. Often enough they’re no more than empty shells, over-used in any form of communication. But if we are to fill these terms with life, they will become a commitment, the most important goal of any brand communication. The “Hidden Champions” of the global market – how can they step out of the shadow? How can they become champions? Without the “hidden”?

The construction chemistry specialist Uzin Utz AG has more than 1,000 employees and is the world market leader in the sector of floor construction. This means invisibility in more than one sense of the word. The products are “low interest” and are applied beneath the flooring materials. In the year marking its 100th anniversary, Uzin Utz senses a historic opportunity and prepares for a gigantic leap into a new self-image. And builds a time machine.


The opportunity becomes “The Future at your feet”. A global collaborative workshop exploring the future of flooring. Over 40 internationally selected specialists from the sectors of architecture, science, medicine and art are let loose to come up with ideas, to give impulses – and to bend the laws of natural science if necessary. We do everything to create a playground as big as possible. A flush of innovation.

This is followed by the construction of seven concept prototypes that show what the floor of the future could be. How it could look, feel, or function. Could. Because each of the seven studies makes one thing clear: The concept of the floor is full of unharvested potential.

On its 100th birthday, Uzin Utz opens the door to its workshop for the future and, in the form of a grand exhibition, presents the current state of the studies. Additional types of media are being created: a website, two books, a campaign and more. But most importantly: Uzin initiates a discourse. A discourse so persistent that the exhibition is touring to this day, enthusing visitors from a variety of sectors.

Meanwhile “The Future at your feet” has developed into an established research and development platform and into a strategic component to move this middle-sized company ahead. In a nutshell: it has paved the way for Uzin Utz.



The Sense of Movement

The Sense of Movement2015

“The Sense of Movement”, a book that curates and documents exceptional artist’s journeys. And in doing so itself becomes a moving object.


In 2013, Daniel Richter and Tal R set off for Greenland with other artists and a group of scientists. On a three-masted sailing ship to the remote island of Ella. The title of the film capturing their journey: “Expedition To The End Of The World”. It shows the navigation through the ice massif. How researchers discover a species. Perhaps even the meaning of life – as they say themselves. At any rate: pure inspiration.

In retribution for a storm’s destruction of strategically important bridges, legend has it that in the 5th century BC King Xerxes of Persia punished the sea with 300 lashes. Between 2011 and 2012, the Berlin artist Julius von Bismarck picks up the pre-Christian subject, travels and metes out lashes to the sea, mountain summits and monuments under the heading “Punishment”– to the point of exhaustion.

In her works, US resident Shirin Neshat addresses the complexity of gender and identity, of tradition and modernity in Islamic countries. “Rapture” is a video piece with a deliberately vague style, which shows women in natural surroundings, men in built spaces. A view from outside of the culture that is both her own and foreign at once.


Three examples from the book “The Sense of Movement”. They give a sense of the artist’s journey that can be so many different things: an expedition, an experience on the edge, romance, martyrdom, exile. Quite apart from the infinite possibilities in space and time. What all the journeys seem to have in common though: a certain degree of unpredictability, of unforeseeable encounters and coincidences. A rhythm composed of speed and deceleration. Of stagnation and flow. A sense of being in the thick of it all.

“The Sense of Movement” harnesses the subject of the artist’s journey, examines it from near and far, in the past and present without aiming to be a complete, finished compendium. Far more, it is a free, even eclectic anthology of the different forms of journeys and their art. Off the beaten track. An open book.

We want to bring this insight to life in the book, too, in the way we read it, observe it and leaf through it. So we follow a non-linear structure, for the content and the design. Just like how for many artists works develop out of a process, the chapters are not decided on in advance either, but defined as they emerge from the artistic material. Each project has its own individual layout. Pictures do not comply with a rigid structure, they can be big, small, can continue over the binding if they want. Stretched out over double pages, they make you stop and pause for a moment, make you look out and beyond.


And so the publication does not just present a selection of 70 artist’s journeys in a vivid and informative way. Its structure and design with its own very unique rhythm – constantly switching back and forth between intimacy and distance – make the feeling of travelling come alive for the readers themselves.

Welt Kompakt
Restless planet seeks new journalism

Welt Kompakt
Restless planet seeks new journalism2011

Welt Kompakt has opened itself up to the Internet. The aim: winning back the internet-savvy audience. But is it even still possible to transform online users into newspaper readers? We orchestrate a campaign illustrating the melting pot the Internet is mutating into.


The world is changing. It always has been. But now it is changing so fast and in so many ways at once that it’s hard to keep up. Driven by a medium that literally is breathtaking. It’s a digital 24-hour drive-in: in, quick, upload, share. Information without latency or restrictions. Everybody can have a go. Everything exists – simultaneously: a bomb attack in the Middle East, whilst the Meier family are celebrating the birth of baby Amelie, while people in the Ukraine are throwing rocks to overthrow the government, while people in India are throwing coloured powder, in observance of a traditional rite. Focusing on everything all at once, until you overload. A phenomenon asking to be contemplated. A topic for Welt Kompakt – and Dorten.


We took the daily flush of news and – borrowing the musical concept of sampling – developed an unusual campaign. “Afghanistan. Superstar. Fashion Week. I Like.” In collaboration with the New York-based artist Peter Sutherland we created 18 print adverts and poster motifs, not really fitting the definition of advertising anymore. Like the TV adverts, all these motifs use the same subline to lead the audience to Welt Kompakt: “Restless planet, looking for new journalism.”

Journalism that deconstructs traditional methods. What would that look like? We show it in Welt Kompakt itself: Following our recommendation, the editors dare to experiment. Every day they publish a double-page that obeys the same rule as the Internet: There are no rules.


Volksbank Ulm-Biberach
Perpetuating progress

Volksbank Ulm-Biberach
Perpetuating progress2013

The financial crisis had its upsides, too. Trust is building again where it once came from: at home. A bank which is closely connected to the region sides with its home and discovers 15 cases of extraordinary potential – in the economic, social and cultural sense – where no-one would have expected it.

The people’s bank, or Volksbank, a cooperative where people act in the interest of the people. A success story since 1962: The Volksbank Ulm-Biberach joins the cooperative shortly thereafter. 150 years ago – which is a long time. Social reforms, welfare state, security. Within this context, the revolutionary concept of a cooperative bank is almost irrelevant, seems out-dated, conservative – somehow boring, no thrills.

But against the background of the financial and the Euro crisis, cooperative values like community, trust and proximity are enjoying a comeback. As it happens, history is repeating itself. And the Volksbank Ulm-Biberach needs a new, revolutionary impulse. So we start dusting, we put the past into a new perspective and we’re courageous. May we introduce: A Bank that consistently develops its role in society, in the best interests of that society.

The Volksbank is going into the field! Leaving its switchboards, presenting its values and expertise on the streets, to the people – it acts proactively and forthrightly. Dorten turns employees into investigators on a mission: Find innovators and thinkers with ideas that have potential to nurture the regional progress of society. From a pool of almost 100 candidates, 15 are selected by a team of experts and will receive financial and structural support from the bank from now on.

“Fortschritt bewahren” (“perpetuating progress”) – a gift for the region: A thank you for 150 years of trust and proof positive that the Volksbank Ulm-Biberach deserves that trust in times to come. Media and citizens alike are surprised and thrilled by this anniversary project – and by the creativity of the people who work within their region, for the region. Cooperative today.


Museum hijacking

Museum hijacking2009

It usually starts with a briefing. But sometimes an exceptional project is triggered by a small observation from someone outside. While some are building a huge monument for themselves, celebrating their age, others are busy planning a friendly take over.


In 2006, when the Mercedes-Benz Museum is opening its doors to the public, Dorten notices: Just like Mercedes-Benz, the innovation partner and neighbour Bosch has been pushing automotive progress forward from the beginning and has an exceptional range of technological milestones in its portfolio. Does that mean that Bosch needs a museum as well? It doesn’t – says Dorten. Because the museum has already been built. This fact simply has to be made known.

The idea: Bosch hijacks the Mercedes-Benz Museum. But how? With a book, a Bosch Guide to the Mercedes-Benz Museum, the “Bosch Finder”. The big challenge: To get two global players to be excited about the project. Thanks to a courageous collaborator at Bosch, the idea is discussed at board level in both companies and permission is granted.

Over almost 200 pages, available at the museum shop, Dorten presents exhibits by both brands in juxtaposition, thus proving the innovative output and unusual partnership between the companies. The book’s structure follows the museum’s extraordinary architecture and guides the visitors chronologically through the different levels and the history of Robert Bosch GmbH. Some call it – tongue in cheek – a “cost-saving reinterpretation” of the partner’s museum, or even “museum hijacking”.


Be that as it may: With the book Bosch manages to define its role in the history of automotive development in a congenial and engaging manner. The company still uses the “Bosch Finder” to lead international visitors through the Mercedes-Benz Museum, which becomes the perfect setting for presenting its own achievements.

The Patent

The Patent2007

A dubious patent lawsuit is shaking a medium-sized company to the core. Instead of sitting back and waiting for the judgement, we empower the company to assume the role of an author writing his own story. A lesson in how powerful communication can be. If you let it.

The threat is real and existential. We’re talking about Felss, an engineering company in the Black Forest that has been supplying the global market at a very high level: with a patented and revolutionary metalworking process. It has been brought to a grinding halt by a competitor, demanding a right to use the technology free of charge. Otherwise: patent lawsuit.


What now? Time is running out for Felss, first clients are already cancelling their orders. Countersuit? Expensive, tedious, unpredictable results. Instead: sophistication, paired with charm. In 2007 Felss, together with Dorten, releases the first provincial economic thriller. While the trial is still underway.

“The Patent” is the story of the invention of the process, of how the competitor challenged the patent, of the events surrounding the trial and, naturally, the final verdict. Communication at its best. “Thriller instead of a deluge of lawsuits” says the press in their reports about such a surprising offensive. Even today the book is replacing the standard brochures. The lawsuit? Felss wins it and keeps the patent – not only on moral grounds.

Welt Kompakt
Concise. Different. Printed.

Welt Kompakt
Concise. Different. Printed.2010

The relationship between online and print is that of a hunter and the hunted. A law of nature? Welt Kompakt is the first German daily newspaper to bury the hatchet and trust in cooperation. Dorten starts a campaign which identifies and poses questions. And therefore is unusually successful.


The newspaper is in crisis. By the time it gets printed, we have already consumed that content online. For free. Its analogue machinery of information and opinions is sputtering. Or are we the spanners in its works? Welt Kompakt is the first German paper to introduce an Internet section in 2009. Dares to rethink its genre. Turning a foe into a friend.

Dorten develops a completely new market positioning, a new brand strategy and brand communication. We go to the source of the fear, talk to the distracted, the adventurous, Generation Internet. “Kurz. Anders. Gedruckt.” (“Concise. Different. Printed.”) – the new brand promise boldly emphasizes the change of course at Welt Kompakt. A newspaper in an unusually convenient format that doesn’t want to be a competitor, but a printed supplement to online media.


Our questions initiate a discussion all over Germany. And an unusual idea needs appropriate packaging which mirrors the aesthetics of the Internet. Today it’s difficult to understand why in 2009 these images had such a disturbing effect in their printed form. Some people were outright appalled. Hundreds of blogs join the discussion – later also big media like Der Spiegel, Die Zeit or taz – thus multiplying the communicative effect.

Sales and subscriptions to Welt Kompakt rise substantially and market research attests extraordinary brand and advertising effects. According to Axel Springer Verlag, it is one of the most successful campaigns the company has launched in recent decades.

Are we ready for a new paper? Evidently.


Creative Consultancy

We believe that we can effect positive change by touching people. Marked by the awareness that responsibility precedes our actions. Driven by the will to do something worthwhile. And with a strong stance that unites us all. For us, as a creative consultancy, the creation already starts taking shape in the strategy. That is why we act as early as we can, providing support in a close dialogue. Transparently and on an equal footing. In concert with our partners and with a global network. With experience and expertise, but also open to the new and unexplored, we find what is beautiful, clear, interesting, inimitable and significant in the companies we work for and give them a language. Creatively excellent and beyond compare. Only then can genuine brand personalities, moving moments, and enduring stories be created – from the word go, looking forward. Next Premium. Dorten studios.


We collaborate with: Allianz, AlphaEOS, A.W. Faber-Castell, Badenova, Baden-Württemberg Stiftung, Bayer, BMW, Bosch, Robert Bosch Stiftung, Daimler, Deutsche Bahn, Deutscher Sparkassen Verlag, DIE ZEIT, DriveNow, DÜRR, DZ BANK, E. Breuninger, ERNST & YOUNG, Felss, Fraunhofer Institut, FRoSTA, GLS Gemeinschaftsbank, Hengeler Mueller, HypoVereinsbank, IBM Deutschland, Knauf, Lenovo Deutschland, Mackevision Medien Design, MBtech Group, Mercedes-Benz, Merida Europe, MINI, Mercedes-Benz Trucks, Neue Zürcher Zeitung, Qixxit, Robbe & Berking, Samsung Electronics, SYNK GROUP, Unicredit Bank, Uzin Utz, Vaude, Viessmann, Voith Enginnering Services, Welt Kompakt, WMF, Carl Zeiss AG.

To produce involvement

To produce involvement2015

A new mood is gaining ground in the media and brand landscape. It is nothing less than a sort of “enlightenment reloaded”, without bloodshed – in the traditional sense of the term. The responsible user wants to have a say, refuses to play along with brand monologues, demands transparency and sincerity, personal communication. But how can you involve this user? What drives people to get involved, makes them ambassadors? How do brands become a relevant player in the new “get involved” society? And: what can we learn from this? These are the questions we got to the bottom of during our second excursion on the topic of “To produce involvement”. We network and enable a close dialogue, perhaps even a discourse.


Together, we visited companies and brands which are trailblazers and inventors of participatory concepts: Airbnb, International Civil Society Centre (ICSC), Paper & Tea, Startnext and taz. Looking back, three aspects in particular seem to be of very special importance in successfully involving fans, customers, citizens or supporters:

Dare to do it.

All our hosts share the special courage it takes to first launch your own brainchild but to then place it trustingly into the hands of the community and not pre-determine the outcome. The courage to lay yourself bare and not to accept but to embrace criticism, perhaps even disinterest and rejection and to evolve the idea together with the community; even despite the risk that it then may belong to everyone far more than to you. Placing your own brand in the hands of strangers and being open to the loss of control is probably one of the greatest challenges that global companies steeped in tradition have to face in this context.

Mean it.

All the protagonists share the fact that they are genuine and do not play games with the trust shown in them. Involvement only works if it is practiced in an honest and transparent way, without ulterior motives. It is successful if people do not feel it is abused as an advertising space or growth driver, but can really make an impact. Only then will they become enthusiastic and credible ambassadors of a brand.

Do it.

And then there’s this last aspect, which seems difficult to realise especially for complex and global “old world” organisations, be they civil societies or stock-listed corporations – freedom to experiment. Or in other words – that certain simple-mindedness that lets us just go ahead and do things sometimes. The joy of discovering something genuinely new, in spite of the knowledge that it may also fail. This is how stories and products with substance emerge that we want to become part of. This requires new structures which offer people with empathy, vision and strength of will – basically go-getters – more freedom. And so ultimately on both sides it is people, and not abstract labels, who influence how successful a relationship is.


Is all this effort really worth it? The hard-earned thanks for sincere participation is the chance to create a community which can forgive when there are mistakes, supports, perhaps even rescues you when things get tricky, and that stays true even in an age when trends, fashions and opinions change almost daily.

Independent Collectors

Independent Collectors

Art Collectors – Not just wealthy art enthusiasts with a competitive streak and no interest in exchanging thoughts or global networking. A unique online platform and publication challenging the stereotypes that surround the clichés of collecting.

Art provokes questions and needs to be discussed – it changes people and sometimes even the world. Many private collections of contemporary art are accessible to the public, but hardly anybody knows about them. In 2008, we decided to change this and in doing so we changed our own outlook.

Together with the Hallo Welt Group and the Grothe Strategic GmbH, Dorten founded the online platform Independent Collectors a private collectors community and a public online magazine. The community, a protected, non-commercial space, where art collectors present their collections to the public is now home to more than 5,300 collectors from 97 countries. The online magazine publishes interviews, portraits and online exhibitions with both renowned and emerging, national and international collectors of contemporary art.

In June 2012 the next big step followed: Together with BMW we expanded the platform by creating the “BMW Art Guide by Independent Collectors“ the first guide to private but publicly accessible collections of contemporary art around the world. The handy and witty book turned out to be the first guide of its kind, a great companion for city trips as well as for adventures off the beaten path, where contemporary art can be found in unusual places.

Featuring 236 private art collections in 167 locations from cosmopolitan Beijing to the small German town of Überlingen, the Art Guide offers readers a full spectrum of the contemporary art world – from its bustling metropolises to its tranquil provinces.

Cedric Bomford

Cedric Bomford2011

What would a space look like, if the partitioning were related not to hierarchy, but to contemplation, exchange and the creation of relevant ideas? In 2011 artist Cedric Bomford reconstructs and upgrades our office – free from any constraints.


The design of an office says a lot about the type of company you’re dealing with. Its ideas of power, humanity, hierarchy and the expected output manifest themselves in the architecture. Some build walls, while others are building the biggest playground on earth. But how could we create a free space where inspiration grows, where diverse thoughts by individuals merge into fruitful work?

In the foyer of the Künstlerhaus Bethanien in Berlin we find “Das Amt”, an eerily lovable and quite bizarre installation. It’s an apparition from a different world. An autonomous room within a room. Cedric Bomford is questioning and deconstructing social hierarchies in his work. What the Canadian artist calls “thinking through building” is the very process that creates his three-dimensional sketches. The materials: found, discarded by someone else. They are infused with a story that he tells in a different way.

And so we meet Cedric. We invite him to redesign our office. The result: Rooms that are freely interpreted and that change perspectives. Exemplifications of a non-hierarchical working culture that inspire instead of intimidating or excluding. Cheers, Cedric!


To produce premium

To produce premium2014

The new generations seem to be developing a different understanding of what qualifies as high-class, luxury or wealth. Status seems to be characterised more in terms of connoisseurship, and prestige these days is symbolised by secret codes and cryptic signals. One of the secrets of the international success of many young brands lies in their attitude and consistency. Berlin is home to an array of such enterprises. We wanted to delve deeper into the topic, encourage encounters, think further. And started the excursion: “To Produce Premium”.


We’ve visited a few of the best – from the areas of media, fashion, trade, mobility and art. We talked to their makers about where they give a thumbs-up or down when it comes to their personal brand management: Aesop, Andreas Murkudis, DriveNow, MYKITA, Slavs and Tatars, Vom Einfachen das Gute und ZEITmagazin.

Courage, a fondness for experimentation and connoisseurship. Attitude, passion, regional focus and the art of curating. These terms keep popping up during our expedition and outline the character of a new understanding of what is premium. Is this a lasting phenomenon that is going to fundamentally change the luxury market?

We believe so. Because what once set the elite apart has now become a currency of the masses. While it used to be the nouveaux riches who adorned themselves with the premium labels without much sense or taste, today even Louis Vuitton bags are available for everyone – on credit.


At the same time, premium brands that often started as small manufacturing studios have grown to a size that makes it impossible for them to produce uniqueness and quality – at least in the holistic sense we nowadays attribute to these terms. An increased awareness of global interrelation, human rights and ecology has changed our definition of these terms. Is it really exciting to see the same things in every city on earth? Why should we invest our wealth in brands that have their products manufactured on the same production lines and under the same conditions as H&M?


Premium has reached a new level, especially as those that can afford it are no longer interested in joining the dispassionate game of the big players. Desirable luxury is now linked to authenticity and transparency and to a position of integrity and consistent actions that are compatible with the post-materialist values of the new elite. This can be found mostly in small and regional enterprises. What’s inside is becoming more important than what it says on the label: Products with background stories that enrich our lives in a meaningful way.



We are interested in meeting people, engaging in an exchange and carrying out new, unusual projects with each other – always. We hand pick our team with the greatest care. With the aim of complementing each other, inspiring each other and evolving with each other. We are strategists, concept developers, filmmakers, business specialists, architects, journalists, event managers, copywriters, fashion, graphic and interior designers. For our Berlin studio we are looking for: strategists, designers and copywriters. We look forward to your application:

Internship Cultural Events

We currently have an immediate vacancy for an intern with exceptional organisational skills, a strong affinity with creative topics and experience in event/project/cultural management. You will support the team in designing and staging talks, workshops and events in Germany and abroad. Ideally you speak fluent English (preferably as a native speaker) and have perfect command of written German and English. Initiative, independence and your own ideas are a major plus.We look forward to receiving your application:

Dorten GmbH Zossener Straße 55 10961 Berlin

T +49 30 232 55 70-30 F +49 30 232 55 70-59

Dorten GmbH Managing Directors: Tobias Kohlhaas and Robert Zwettler Registration Court: Amtsgericht Charlottenburg HRB 177908 B

VAT ID No.: DE 236111485


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