Brilliant Minds

Outstanding personalities behind an open newspaper

For more than 25 years, the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (F.A.Z.) has been asking important personalities to take part in the now legendary photo series "There's always a brilliant mind behind it". The series shows clever minds reading the newspaper in an environment that represents their work and achievements. In this way, the F.A.Z. would like to pay tribute to people who shape the global political, economic, social and cultural discourse.

Scholz & Friends
seit 1995
  • Many international awards since 1996 - including Cannes Lions, ADC, London International Awards, Eurobest, Clio Awards, New York Festivals, GWA Effie

A brilliant mind against oblivion

Margot Friedländer

On Holocaust Remembrance Day on January 27, 2024, the anniversary motif of the Brilliant Minds campaign of the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (F.A.Z.) was published - photographed by director Wim Wenders. Surrounded by more than 2,700 concrete steles commemorating the murdered Jews of Europe, sits a woman who survived the Holocaust: Margot Friedländer. With a newspaper in her hand and history before her eyes, the 102-year-old is the protagonist of the 100th motif in the award-winning photo series "There's always a brilliant mind behind it". The campaign supports Margot Friedländer's tireless commitment against forgetting. The motif is a reminder to remain vigilant, stay informed and resist the beginnings.

A brilliant mind of time

Christoph Grainger-Herr

An eye on current affairs, the F.A.Z. in his hand and a clever head at a lofty height: the 99th motif of the award-winning F.A.Z. campaign “There's always a brilliant mind behind it" shows Christoph Grainger-Herr, CEO of watch manufacturer IWC Schaffhausen. For the motif, the 45-year-old sits on the obelisk of the almost nine-meter-high sundial on the Hohewald slag heap in the Ruhr region, Germany. True to the campaign idea, he hides his face behind the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung.

A brilliant mind working for peace

Irina Scherbakowa

She is not only a bright mind, but also an icon of peace: Irina Scherbakowa, co-founder of the human rights organization Memorial, is the current face of our F.A.Z. campaign. Memorial was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize together with the Ukrainian Centre for Civil Liberties and the Belarusian human rights activist Ales Bjaljazki - around a year after Russia's highest court declared the organization dissolved.

Christian Klein

The career of SAP CEO Christian Klein is extraordinary: at the age of just 39, he became CEO of SAP in 2019 - making him the youngest CEO of a DAX company to date. The campaign motif shows Klein sitting on an office chair, hidden behind a print edition of F.A.Z. The entire photo is covered in tiny letters, numbers and characters. It is part of a software code written in ABAP, the programming language developed by SAP.

Malaika Mihambo

Malaika Mihambo, Olympic champion and two-time world champion in long-jumping, is the protagonist of F.AZ's Brilliant Minds campaign in August 2021. It's not just her top sporting achievements that make her a brilliant mind, but also her wide-ranging interests. The 27-year-old studied political science alongside competitive sport and is completing a distance learning course in environmental sciences.

Prof. Dr. Dr. Wolf Singer

Renowned neuroscientist Prof. Dr. Dr. Wolf Singer was photographed for the F.A.Z. reading a newspaper to measure brain waves. In an interview with Joachim Müller-Jung, the editor responsible for the “Nature and Science” section of the F.A.Z., Wolf Singer explains what makes smart people smart: “Smartness is a broad spectrum of abilities that are developed to different degrees in different people,” says the brain researcher. This includes social and emotional skills and goes far beyond the results of intelligence tests.

Brilliant minds staged iconically