‘I could drown in my cutting room floor’ – Creative Q&A, Manifest’s Daisy Phillips

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 Daisy Phillips, associate creative director at Manifest.

How did you get where you are now?

I kicked off my career on Hill+Knowlton’s graduate scheme, moving through sectors before landing in consumer comms. After five years in a big agency working on the Procter & Gamble behemoth, I intentionally sought out a ‘boutique’ where I hoped to get more ideas over the line, moving to Slam PR, where I worked my way up to associate director across clients including Sonos, Benefit Cosmetics and Zippo.

The part of my job I enjoyed the most was always the ideas, so after the birth of my first child, I made the sideways step into a creative role. Three years, another child, and a global pandemic later and, like many people, I found myself re-evaluating my options.

My search was succinct. I wanted an agency with a positive, progressive and creative culture. I loved the multi-award-winning work Manifest had done with ‘The Boob Life’ for Tommee Tippee, so when an opportunity came up to lead creative on the brand’s next campaign, I left my own boob life and returned from maternity leave to work with them.

Actively seeking a creative with the lived experience of parenthood is Manifest all over. It’s a business driven by its values, championing diversity of thought and delivering on bold, beautiful creative that makes a real difference in the world.

What’s been your creative career highlight?

I hope it’s yet to come, but the campaigns that mean the most to me are the ones that have had a positive real-world impact – like Zippo’s ‘Fight Fire with Fire’, countering the effects of deforestation through wildfire.

...and lowlight?

I don’t have a single lowlight, but I could drown in my cutting room floor. I’m sure many will also relate to the frustration of vision versus reality after budget cuts and client approvals have reduced a big concept into a survey and a sell-in.

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

I wish I had worked on The Romans’ ‘Miss Diagnosed’ campaign, tackling the gender health gap. It was simple, looked great, and had a real positive impact in an area I am passionate about. A gift of a brief.

How do you solve creative writer’s block?

I am a big fan of creative collaboration. There are only so many cultural references one person can bring to the table. It’s so important to bring the outside in through diversity of experience and thought. So, when I am in a rut I chat to others, and we talk our way out of it.

How should PR grow its creative prowess?

We are an industry dominated by generalists, adept at multi-tasking, being agile and ‘all hands to the pump’, but it can be hard to find creative headspace when you wear many hats.

My biggest advice to agencies is to protect and resource creative time properly.

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