'Lowlight? Receiving a cease and desist from Dave Grohl' – Creative Q&A

PRWeek grills creative comms figures on how they got where they are, their career highlight, solving creative writer's block, and more. Today we speak to AxiCom UK creative director Graeme Anthony.

'Lowlight? Receiving a cease and desist from Dave Grohl' – Creative Q&A

How did you get where you are now?

The joyride began in 2006 at Brazen in Manchester, which basically laid the foundations for my off-the-wall style. It's still the only agency ballsy enough to have a cleavage as a logo and I love them for it. Four years later I moved to London and joined Frank. London was short-lived, but Frank was a wild and raucous rodeo that went on for over a decade.

Craving a new challenge, I joined AxiCom, which is architecting a fantastic evolution of the tech agency and I’ve been hooked ever since. I feel very fortunate to have found somewhere that actively encourages me to bring a little chaos and disorder to what’s traditionally quite a rigid sector.

What's been your creative career highlight?

Definitely getting paid each month. But I think recreating the Northern Lights above London for Huawei was a real pinch-me moment.

...and lowlight?

Receiving a cease and desist from Dave Grohl for paintballing his face across London. Turns out the nicest man in rock ain’t so nice when you’re using his likeness. And rightly so.

Sorry Dave.

What's your favourite campaign of the past three months (not one that you or your organisation were involved in), and why?

Vanarama placing a Hollywood-style sign on a slag heap in Wrexham. It was old-school. It was simple. It was suspenseful. It was talked-about.

I’m also a Wrexham lad and I see the positive impact that publicity like this, and through Ryan Reynolds and Rob McElhenney, is having on my hometown community. Prior to this, we were only known for Robbie Savage. No offence, Sav…

How do you solve creative writer's block?

Don’t go for a walk! I hate when people suggest that. We go for walks to disconnect and we should never encourage work commitments to infiltrate the areas we take personal pleasure from.

For me blocks aren’t problems, they’re warnings. A solid creative response should flow quite naturally, so if you hit a block it usually means something has caused a dam upstream. So revisit the brief, pick apart the approach, dismantle the strategy and challenge the platform, because the block is your creative subconscious telling you that something doesn’t sit right.

Find it, fix it and watch the creativity flow again.

How should PR grow its creative prowess?

Respect the process and respect our craft. Creativity needs time, care and attention, which it sometimes seems reluctant to provide at both an agency and client level.

In certain environments, it can feel like battery caged creativity where we expect stacks of time-starved and ill-invested colleagues to produce golden eggs at any given moment.

Yet we ask ourselves outrageously: “Why aren’t more PR agencies winning at Cannes?!” Which is the equivalent of asking why Wrexham isn’t winning more Premier League trophies.

But maybe we could if we were all a little more Ryan Reynolds.

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