You join GOOD with over 20 years of experience in the advertising industry. How did you arrive in this sector?
I was a bit of a late starter when it comes to advertising. I’d done all sorts of random jobs before I discovered there was a thing called copywriting: postman, bookbinder, journalist, Scotch egg maker, to name a few. So when I did actually, finally get hired at an ad agency, that was a big moment for me. I honestly never thought it was going to happen and that it wasn’t meant for grumpy working-class Northern types like myself. If I remember right, my art director and I hugged each other, before remembering that we were, in fact, grumpy working-class Northerners. Then we called our mums.
What inspires you creatively?
I’m in awe of people with actual creative skills, like painters or film directors. Film, in particular, is a thing for me. If I had my time again, I reckon I’d have a go at that. I love the medium and I’m really into the craft and language of film. I think our industry could learn so much just by studying how great directors tell their stories.
And more generally, what are you inspired by?
The fans of Notts County are officially the most miserable in the country. I’m a lifelong Notts fan. Not particularly inspiring, you might think, but pretty much every day in this industry your ideas get killed, taken apart, or changed so they’re no longer your ideas. Adversity, in the form of being a Notts fan, makes you a hardy soul. That constant disappointment can be truly inspiring.
What campaign has stood out to you recently, and why?
I loved the latest Paralympics ‘Superhumans’ campaign by Channel 4. It might even beat the original, and that’s saying something. I also really enjoyed a US campaign for Halo Ice Cream. I think it’s a couple of years old now, but I only saw it the other day. It’s a great piece of positioning; ‘Ice cream for grown-ups, because grown-ups need a lot of ice cream’. Mainly I love them because they’re very funny, if a bit miserable. Maybe that’s the Notts thing coming through again.
What drew you to GOOD, and our work?
I’d heard of GOOD ages ago when someone I vaguely knew joined. I remember thinking ‘what a great place to work’. So when the ECD role came up I jumped at the chance. Obviously, the agency’s values and approach are key – the idea of doing something which makes the world a little better every day has to be a dream job. But I also think it’s absolutely the right time (it’s all about timing). I’ve spent the last few years working on global brands and the conversations about purpose and ‘doing good’ have become increasingly frequent and loud. In truth though, I don’t think agencies (especially the big network agencies) are designed to tackle those issues. It’s not that I think they’re not creative or able to come up with campaigns, but I don’t think their core principles are aligned with purpose or charitable objectives in the same way as they are at GOOD. And, in this space, that’s absolutely critical. At GOOD the belief is true and the commitment is deep. That’s the difference.
What are your hopes and ambitions as the new ECD of GOOD?
I want to help the agency create great work. Great work makes things happen. It makes people feel. It makes people act. The more brilliant work we do, the more good we do.