How did you get where you are now?
My very first industry job was Weber Shandwick in Manchester when I was still in my final year at university (God knows how I managed to blag that), then I landed a place on the Eulogy graduate scheme, which brought me down to London. It was a great place to start my career; they gave me lots of opportunities to pitch, which is probably where my love of creative started. From there I joined Surname & Surname (the consumer/creative shop of Blue Rubicon, AKA Teneo), where I stayed for many years, straddling creative and account work before moving to FleishmanHillard as global creative director at the start of this year.
What's been your creative career highlight?
Aside from landing the CD role at Fleishman, which was a dream come true, anything involving dogs is always up there. I worked with Dogs Trust for many years and, to draw attention to the new compulsory microchipping laws, we launched The Microchippy: a restaurant where you could only get a reservation if you had a dog with you. It was fully booked up in about two hours and the press night was wonderful chaos!
... and lowlight?
At Teneo we launched Tesco’s discount supermarket brand, Jack’s, which involved months of planning and prep. We were launching to media at a new Jack’s store in Cambridgeshire with a purpose-built event structure complete with a high spec immersive experience inside. Until that point, I was unfamiliar with the region’s Fen Blow phenomenon, where the surrounding flat farmland makes for incredibly windy conditions. I’m sure you can guess what’s coming next; I remember vividly the moment I was staring at the structure when a particularly strong gust blew it down entirely, beyond repair. We had to rebuild the whole thing in a storage space in less than 12 hours. Not something I want to re-live.
What's your favourite campaign of the past three months (not one that you or your organisation were involved in) and why?
I loved the recent launch of Oreo Thins, where they created a collection of camouflaged packs branded with the likes of Green Giant Riced Veggies and a Ford vehicle manual to allow parents to hide the cookies in plain sight of their kids. Beautifully simple.
How do you solve creative writer's block?
Good ideas breed good ideas so if I’m struggling, I seek out some creative inspiration that originated from a similar insight, industry or audience. That generally does the trick in getting the creative juices flowing again.
How should PR grow its creative prowess?
I don’t think it needs to; I’m very proud to come from earned-first creative stock. I love how the briefs can be incredibly silly one day and hugely profound the next. It’s an exciting time to be in PR, we’re seeing more and more client marketing budgets being handed over to comms and you only have to look at many of the Grand Prix winners from Cannes this year to see how much ground earned-centred ideas are gaining.