Colleen Decourcy Curated

Co-President, CCO at Wieden + Kennedy

CURATED BY :  

This profile has been added by users(CURATED) : Users who follow Colleen Decourcy have come together to curate all possible video, text and audio interview to showcase Colleen Decourcy's journey, experiences, achievements, advice, opinion in one place to inspire upcoming advertising professionalss. All content is sourced via different platforms and have been given due credit.

  • Talk about work life balance.

    View Source

  • Where do you see the industry going?

    View Source

  • What is your advice to a young person entering the advertising industry?

    My advice to a young person entering the advertising industry is to be as disruptive and different as possible. Even if you’re an absolute nut, if you have a real and singular voice, there will always be a spot for you.

    View Source:

  • Talk about the changes in the industry since you joined?

    So much has affected the ad industry since I began in the 90s. Everything from the disruption of TV, music, movies and newspapers, the development of major social platforms like Facebook and Twitter, the rise in the power of consumers and the influence they have on brands. I’d say race and gender equity has impacted our business… or it’s starting to, finally. But, technology is still the thing that’s changing everything. I said in a 2014 interview that the industry had become a bit boring but I think at that time it was a case of a calm before the storm. Everyone was all about being smart; digital marketing had becoming pretty systematic and not about innovating with tech; ideas were 360° and placed everywhere they needed to be. It felt very orderly and bland and, quite frankly, not a lot stuck out. 2017 is proving to be a bit of a ball buster for this industry. I think it’s the year that we’ll see some of that order go away as marketers search for big, bold and explosive ideas that capture people’s imaginations.

    View Source:

  • What is the best piece of advertising work you've ever seen?

    The best piece of advertising work I’ve ever seen is Double Life for PlayStation from 1999, directed by Frank Budgen. It became a fetish item for me. I transferred it onto my new, 7lb, Apple PowerBook G3 Bronze Keyboard laptop and made people watch it. It came from TBWALondon. Copywriter: James Sinclair. Art director: Ed Morris. CD: Trevor Beattie. It was the reason I took the TBWA job when it came for me. Not Apple, not adidas, but PlayStation and that fucking crazy ad. In my first month on the job I was enlisted to try to defend the PlayStation account with TBWAChiatDay LA. Sadly, it wasn’t saveable.

    View Source:

  • If you could be equally successful in any other profession other than advertising, which would it be?

    If I wasn’t in advertising and could be equally successful in another profession I would choose to be a foreign correspondent. I have this quasi-fantasy that I’ll eventually retire from Wieden+Kennedy and become the oldest living foreign correspondent at VICE News. Why isn’t there a 60-year-old female Anthony Bourdain-like character on TV? I have ideas. It’d be funny. It’s an under-served market. VICE should call me.

    View Source:

  • What have you learnt becoming a parent?

    Since becoming a parent I have learnt about commitment, obligation and tenacity. Parenting teaches you about wins over time. It teaches you about removing your feelings from the situation. It teaches you about eternal vigilance. It teaches you self-control. I have learned that childhood is sticky and invasive and challenging and precious and the only thing you’ll want before you die is more time with your children. Parenting has taught me that we don’t own the people we commit to, we’re only entrusted with them. My daughter [Emma] is 23 now. A grown-up of her own making, with my help.

    View Source:

  • Talk about the people you came across when you started in the industry.

    When I was starting out in the industry there were some people who mentored me and others who fought me. They all made me better. Andrew Robertson at BBDO taught me about equal pay and I’ll always be indebted to him for that. [TBWA’s] Lee Clow thought I was smart and spent a lot of time championing my thinking, which I still endeavour to live up to. Mark Kingdon, at Organic, thought he spotted a leader and guided me to find my purpose in being one. Troy Young [former chief experience officer at Organic, now president of Hearst digital media] taught me defence. Dave Luhr [W+K president] taught me that half the job is stamina. The people working beside me and under me taught me the most. People who followed and believed and tried to deliver what I could see. Those people were my real mentors.

    View Source:

  • How were you in the early days of your career?

    In the early days of my career I was questing, exciting, difficult, compelling, fast, too fast, way too fast, chaotic, relentless, never satisfied, full of impossible asks. I had a lot of original ideas and that made me slightly arrogant. It was a fun time though. I liked to have fun and I created families out of my teams. I believed in us and the power of what we could do. I didn’t care about people’s experience, only their ideas, so I gave a lot of people chances they might not otherwise have gotten. It’s good to think about that. I need to remember that person a little more.

    View Source:

  • Talk about the impact of Nike ad(with Colin Kaepernick) on Wieden and Kennedy and the world.

    View Source

  • What ind of responsibility do you think power players in media and the creative industry have right now. What changes are you making at your agency to shoulder and express that responsibility?

    View Source

  • The first thing that I think stands out is, and you've described this a lot of different ways, but is your relentless curiosity and thirst for figuring out what else might be true and possible in a situation. How might we combine two or multiple different things together and create something that we've never seen before or felt before. That is so prevalent to me in listening to you. Two, I think, is a genuine concern and empathy for other people and their success. You are so interest, not more than interested, I think committed to helping other people and lock their talent, their creativity. You mentioned the word self-actualization a couple times. I think there's a real humanity about the way that you do that. I think, third, is your willingness to adapt. I think that you don't ... we talked a little bit about your interest in rigor and creating order out of chaos, but I think it's pretty clear that you have found a way, and in some cases, relish actually, the challenge of how else might this be possible? What else might this existence look like? What might come from being willing to accept a different set of possibilities? And I think as you've described your life in terms of your own career development and having a daughter and the challenges of that, your willingness and ability to go through that and see yourself in different forms and different modes in each of those ways has given you the ability to arrive at this point with the relationship you described with your daughter and with the career and success that you had. Do those resonate for you?

    eah. No, they do. Thank you. I mean, yes, that's more sense than I've ever made of my life. But there's a phrase that I first read in a William Gibson novel and I have no idea if he picked it up and it was already a phrase. But it was, "The street finds a use for everything." I think a lack of thinking you're owed anything, a lack of a sense of privilege, I feel very much like I'm from the street and I will find a use for everything that's put in my way. I think that has been a driving force of me as a person and in my view of creativity and my view of how you can structure your own worlds to be the one you want it to be. As a creative person, I think that's my biggest tool, picking things up and saying, "If I assemble it like this, it's a happy thing, it's a good thing, it's a thought I didn't have before." So, yeah, thank you.

    View Source:

  • What are you afraid of?

    Finding out it all meant nothing. My stock answer probably right then would have been myself, but I'm not anymore. That's what being 53 does give you. I'm afraid of finding out that I picked the wrong things to make the world a better place. Yeah, that sounds really locked in, stupid. It's true.

    View Source:

  • How do you see that now? What does the future look like?

    Well, I mean seriously, I'm 53, I can count it. It sounds terrible, but I have really lately started to become conscious of the fact that my daughter was born 23 years ago, 24 years ago this April. Add 24 to 53 and you hit a number where I may or may not be here and that is shocking to your system. So I am trying to decide which things I want to do on repeat and make sure I get to repeat them as many times as I want to. I am trying to finish my career in a way that makes me proud of the impact that I had. I would like the end result to be that I made a difference, but I also want the last chapter to be, and then she lived happily ever after doing whatever the fuck she wanted. Yeah, these are interesting days.

    View Source:

  • Would you do it differently?

    There are things that I would do differently, for sure. I think I tried to do a lot. I think that I should have realized earlier that a live-in nanny would help a lot. I think I should have instead of being afraid that if I didn't take this promotion that was overseas, or if I didn't work on this account that I really wanted to work on, but that was based in another continent, that that opportunity would never come again. I do think possibly if I'd had more confidence in myself, I could have cut that line differently so that I was home more often. I think that was just me being afraid that those opportunities were once in a life. Every opportunity to me was a once in a lifetime because I always considered myself so improbably there and so unlikely to get the chance again.

    View Source:

  • Shocked because?

    They didn't think I would do that. Yet, when it happened, there was no question in my mind, not even a bit. And, yet, I'd chosen differently at different moments. At this moment there was no doubt in my mind this is what I was going to do. I was away. I wanted this, I wanted to express myself through my creativity. I didn't want to work at a firm as a something, I wanted to self-actualize. So one side of the story is, oh, so hard for me. I raised this child on my own while fighting my way up through the ranks of being creative in a field where so few women are. Always away and the sadness of missing important moments for my child, yeah, I feel all those things. But there's also the, "Wow, seriously, you were the only parent she had and you chose to dedicate 80 hours a week to your job?" Yeah, I did, I did. Now, I look at the young woman that I care more about more than myself, more than anything, and she's proud of me, which means a lot to me. And she is a very determined young woman who is also an amazing partner for her boyfriend, who's an amazing daughter for me. She was very clear cut about her needs and what she wants and it matters to her and that is priority one. Her. Actualization and yet she's incredibly giving woman. So I feel okay about it. I think that statement of the only thing that you'll regret at the end of your life is not having more time with your children is now round two of selfishness. Now I want her, I always wanted her, but now I want the time, I want the stuff I missed, I want the showing up with cookies at school and being home on a Saturday night and not always be packing on Sunday and phoning home on Mother's Day. I missed it. And she will use that as her springboard for a life where, hopefully, she will find a balance. I am rounding the bend to, oh, I don't get that back.

    View Source:

  • You said at one point something along the lines, "The only thing people regret is not spending more time with their kids." How do you reconcile ... obviously the industry you've been describing and live in, the role that you have, the job that you currently have, the roles you've played in the past, all of those are massively demanding. You spend a lot of your life on planes, you travel an incredible amount. How do you reconcile those two pieces of your life?

    As it's coming out in the wash, a little better than I did when I was in the middle of it. My daughter is 23 now. I'll be straight up with you, what started as a need to provide ... I was a single mother, I hate that phrase, single mother. I chose to have and raise a child on my own from the get go. I don't regret that decision, I would do it again tomorrow, but I've had to come to terms with my inherent selfishness and that somewhere along the line it stopped being about just making sure we had food on the table and a roof over her head. And I wanted a career. You can ask anyone, raising a small child, raising a big child, raising any child is hard. Raising yourself is fricking impossible so transferring that to another person, as someone who doesn't desire power, was an interesting choice for me. When I told people I was pregnant, I think most people were just shocked.

    View Source:

  • You gave an interview earlier this summer and you posited a theory I've never heard from anybody else before and I would like you to talk about it a little bit. I pulled this out just so I get the quote right. You said, "The one thing that seems clear is a woman's instinct to deliver someone or something. How we process that instinct defines us. Women are expected to place their own needs second. It's not just conditioning, it's part of our genetics." Talk to us a little bit about delivery.

    Well, I think that it's probably very also tied into why I always ended up being a change agent. I do believe that in both a good way and a harmful way, a very deep seeded, I mean like cave man seeded thing, that women are seen as needing to place other people's needs before their own. And I think my example in that instance was about carrying a child. If you're a cave lady and you're knocked up and there's a bear coming or a triceratops or whatever it is, you're pretty scared and you know that when you go into it. The act of being pregnant was very fascinating thing for me. First, as I watched my body not become known to me, and, second, as I realized that effectively I had taken off my armor and made myself vulnerable and possibly easily killable in every single way. Then you deliver this child and in the 18 hours or whatever it takes for that process to happen, the second it comes out you have to be the fiercest, most protective warrior on the planet. I think that journey ... man, probably feminists everywhere will kill me for this because I just reduced the woman in the role of carrying a baby ... that's not how I mean it, but it's an example of, I think, a deep seeded instinct that is the duality of women. That quote that I had given came on the tail end of talking about Masters and Johnson and Hemingway and, oh, God, there was examples, I had four of them. Where a woman had chosen either to do her thing or deliver a man's thing. Jackson Pollock was delivered by an artist who was every bit as talented. Joan Didion decided not to do that for her husband. Virginia Masters had to pretend she didn't exist for her brilliant work to get seen by the world. What's interesting is you can judge it, but I think each of those women felt at peace with their choice, except maybe Martha Gelhorn, because that just didn't end very well. Hemingway, in fact, was a real dick and she was a far better writer. I think these are the challenges that we face and I think it makes us particularly suited to leadership. A lot of creative directors, I think the often repeated thing is, "Well, you become an executive creative director or creative leader and you don't get to make work anymore. I don't know that I could do that," and really my first instinct is always, then you shouldn't. Because it doesn't mean you don't make good work, but it means you're too much of a narcissist to put someone else's work before yours, which could make you a freaking genius and that's awesome. But get the hell out of the running for the seat because women have constantly had to live that duality. We make our work around the outsides, or we can choose. As many women do now, which is amazing, choose no. I choose to deliver myself, but I believe that is the part of the work or struggle we see with women in leadership roles in creativity. I think it's what makes us amazing at it. I think sometimes we lean too far into the delivering when we get into leadership. Something I'm trying to watch out for myself personally.

    View Source:

  • Do you think creative people find it easier to be transparent or harder?

    It depends. It's a really funny thing, the creative people thing. I know they sit on a continuum. Some creative people are so transparent that they're almost like Tourette's. There's nothing that comes into their head that they can stop themselves from saying. Those creative people are incredibly useful when you're trying to run through a lot of ideas and sees things from very non-logical, lateral places. I wouldn't ever want to be without those people. Some creative people like to have the answer before they say it. I'm less inclined towards those kind of creative people, but I do know that some of them have made amazing work. So when that situation is right, when you have a client or a business proposition or business problem in front of you that the client is easily skittish or isn't really someone who likes to have that open dialogue or doesn't want to know that sometimes you're wrong. They want to think every thought you have is the right one and that's the only thing that keeps them comfortable. Those are really good people to partner with those kinds of business people, where they're controlling the dialogue so that no one ever sees that maybe somebody doesn't have all the answers. There's a time for that. I think creative people in general, though, it's easier for them when you take away distraction and some creative people find wrong thoughts to be a distraction. Some people find them to be an inspiration. Creative people naturally fight the order. I've confessed to you that there are certain pieces, the DND piece pretty much was written under absolute panic.

    View Source:

  • You talked about authenticity earlier, and you have the ability to engender trust among some of the most senior people in the industry. In some cases, people who have founded their own business. Where does that come from? Why do they trust you so quickly with such a deep understanding of their business?

    Because I think trust is the secondary thing, I think some people choose me. The way to make someone decide if you're the person they should choose to share all this with, create trust with, is to go in very open-minded with a very open and transparent brain and think out loud for those people, with those people. To say things like, "I don't know if this is right, but when you said that I thought of this." Or, "I was wondering about X." Or, "I read that article last week and it made me think about a conversation we had a while ago and I came at you with an answer, but now I've reconsidered. I think it might be this." If you are right for that problem and that business and that person, then they will choose you because they've seen it and they trust it and they know you'll always be transparent with it and I think that's what the trust is. I have answers in there that are right for that person. My answers won't be right for every person. When they're not right for that person, they shouldn't trust me. (laugh) They should find someone who has their answer. But I think it's less about trust and untrust as much as it is of agreeing that we share a common point of view on something and can therefore work from there. And I try and be as open and fluent and verbal and transparent as possible so that that person can decide if I am the right pick.

    View Source:

  • It got easier because you were doing stuff?

    Because I was showing up, true to myself. This is what I do, this is what I see, this is what I believe in. And I see you and I believe in you and I know we're different and that's amazing because the world is full of that. Every angle on a problem. Let me kind of shift it to talking about work, because I feel nobody in the world needs to hear more about me or my leadership. But this idea of when you look at what's going on with advertising right now. Suddenly in the last six months I'm so jacked about it because there's clarity again to me on what we bring. We bring strategic thinking, we bring framing, we bring human language and emotion and understanding to business problems and that is the job. Communication is the job. You can't convincingly communicate things that you're not intimately involved in the thinking of. So taking our people further up the value chain in terms of who they're dealing with. Connecting amazing creative thinkers to amazing business minds on the client side and saying you two come up with a narrative you love about this endeavor and we will wrap all of our resources around creating the behaviors and the signifiers and the messaging and the stories that back that up, but I want deep into your business. I don't buy into the further away we are the better it is for you. I think it's kind of an arrogant gift. Oh, I know nothing about you, but let me tell you what I see of you. It's like, well, you know what? You know shit. I think that's what business owners started to feel about us, about advertisers, advertising people. When I truly look at a great creative mind applied to a real problem, I don't know why we would want that away from our business issues that our clients have. I feel like different skill sets required, focusing on the inputs and letting the outputs come naturally and then applying our craft to them as we catch them coming out the other end. I want to sit down with a CEO and look at his business problems and craft a 28 team plan for that business. It is not just about marketing and then say, well, if this is true, what unlocks that? Oh, this idea, this idea works for all of these different stakeholders. This idea then, let's now push all of your business, ambitions and problems back through this idea. Does that feel like a business that you want to run? Is that a successful thing? Okay, so now let's bring in people and make that true for you. Let's put skin on the bones. I think that's where our industry is going and I think we get distracted about it. Is it digital, is it not? Is it TV, is it not? We're way down in the weeds of the output only and I think that true creativity runs the whole ladder.

    View Source:

  • Was that a journey? You were brought into Wieden's as a change agent, and changes agents aren't normally welcomed with open arms from the organism. Was that a tough adjustment?

    es and no. It was a tough adjustment for other reasons. The truth is, for my first, this'll be my fifth year at Christmas. For the first two years I didn't make any change really. I started some things, like Lodge. There was great creative people who were technology people, not to leave because I knew we'd regret that and I understood that they needed to be making things not justifying other people's ides, they were craftsmen too. But besides that, I kept my head down it was so overwhelming to be an outsider that I kept my head down and I just tried to learn Wieden Kennedy. So I don't think I had the change agent thing as much. If anything, I think I made the mistake of not, because people's view then was, she's clearly a different shape than us and then she's not changing things so why would she be here? Which is a really valid question, which at the end of year two I asked myself and then decided it was either time to dig in and pick up that mantle, unwillingly or not, and start making the changes that I thought were right for Wieden Kennedy. Then it got easier.

    View Source:

  • Your emotional home?

    Hmm. I feel like I've found that where I am now, which doesn't mean it's perfect and it doesn't mean it isn't fraught with emotions and misunderstandings and sibling rivalries, but it's home. So once you are home, you kind of play at what you're great at. I think that feeling of safety, which is very much part of Dan's ethos, doesn't mean be easy, doesn't mean be paternal, doesn't mean make decisions for everyone so that no one every does the wrong thing. It means you're home.

    View Source:

  • Is it easier for you to say no now?

    Yeah. There's also a very funny thing about finding your home.

    View Source:

  • Are you more discerning about the difference that you're making as you get older?

    Yes. I used to throw myself at all kinds of absurd challenges, well meaningly put in front of me by people. Look, I think I suffered a little bit from being a square that looked like a circle so people would want me to be the person who solved their digital problem. I remember once in a particularly painful review, I'd just killed myself hiring people, trying to put great work on the table, trying to save accounts. I think I was stretching between [inaudible] and Pepsi. There was some Nissan. I lived in New York, I worked in Amsterdam and LA, I was just throwing my body over every bomb that could come my way. One, because I really believed in the place. Two, because they were smart enough early on to put in my head that this was part of solving what media arts would be in the world and who doesn't want to take that up? And, three, because I wanted to be the one to make a difference. The criticism that I got was, "You're just not very operationally focused. People want you to tell them how to organize it and how to budget it." And I thought, I'm a creative director, just how many fucking things do you want from me? You want me to have the ideas, find the talent, express the ideas, sell the ideas, price the ideas, operationalize the ideas. Jesus Christ! That's when I drew a line for myself and I thought you need to start being more true to the way your brain works. I was okay with continuing to try and solve the problems in front of me because it's the only way my work got sold, quite frankly. And that's when I went off and started my own business, even just to do it for as long as I did it. Because if someone was going to hold me accountable for that, then I was going to next time know how to do it. So it was like a double, I decided I wasn't going to play there, but I was going to figure out how to do it. Because I was just confounded and I think that was probably the most self-flagellating part of my career, and that's something that I learned isn't productive. That I've eased up on.

    View Source:

  • As you move through the stages of your career, what have sought, what have you been looking for at each point?

    Hmm. Geeze, you often don't think of it at the time. I have often found myself in situations where look around and go, "Shit, no one else is going to figure this out." I don't know how many more ways I could articulate this without it becoming the worst thing I ever did as a leader, but I truly was never looking for that. I'm looking for meaning in my contribution. I'm looking to know that I made the difference.

    View Source:

  • What do your heroes look like?

    Oh, well, I have weird heroes. Margaret Moff is a hero of mine because she was just a fearless workhorse running out there in the field. Chuck Yeager is a hero because he was just crazy and did unbelievable scary things.And had charisma while he did it. Every day I open a newspaper and hear about someone else that I believed in turning out to be a horrible man. I just always hope that none of them are about Chuck Yeager. Joan Didion is fascinating to me because of the way she lived her life. Her relationship with her art and her family and her husband and how they balanced those things and still managed to keep a real marriage. Then lose your family and continue without self-pity to be an incredible expressive voice that's meaningful is unbelievable to me. I like a good soldier. I respect Steve Jobs and he's amazing and everything, but my heroes are the people that go in as normal people into the fight and win through sheer tenacity. Yeah, I think that changes the rules.

    View Source:

  • Do you like change?

    Yes, though, ironically, I'm going to be 53 this year and I'm sure as all people when they start to get older hit, I'm less in love with change than I used to be. Yeah, I don't have anything more to say about that. I don't why. Well, mostly I just start to crave some consistency.

    View Source:

  • You're often brought in as the change agent. Why do you think that is? Why do companies pick you to be the revolutionary?

    Because I have never lived in a solid state in my life, because my specialty is mutation. Well, I think there's ... hmm, I never really thought about that. I think there's probably a couple of things. One, I do think, is just part of my personality is that I'm never sure of what I'm sure of as being the absolute. And so I'm very open to change.

    View Source:

  • Is there a difference in your mind between power and authority?

    Yes. Because I believe that authority comes from conviction, I think authority comes from conviction and proven insight.

    View Source:

  • What is it about power that you don't warm to?

    I think I fundamentally don't believe it. I'm suspicious of power. I think that people who maintain power do it through tricks and magic. So much energy has to go into the sustaining of the position of power, that I often wonder what they're missing that's really interesting that isn't about their power. I think clarity and leadership matter for groups of people.

    View Source:

  • Given that you don't like hierarchy, do you prefer being part of the group or do you like being in charge? Do you like leading?

    I like having a voice, it means a lot to me. Throughout my life the maintaining of my will and my voice and two incredibly important things. One of the things that drew me to Wieden Kennedy was Dan's idea of being a place where people could find their voice. I think in the last five years I have further found my voice or our voices change as we move through life. But, yeah, it's a funny thing. I have very conflicted emotions about leadership. I do like to be in charge, but I don't like what comes with that. I like being in charge because I like people to come with me and look for the idea that I stubbornly think is the thing. It's that, it's that! And if you're not in charge, you spend a lot of going it's that and everyone's like ooh. It allows you to really find what I see as creativity. If I have a thing, it's kind of, "Oh, my God, it doesn't start on Monday with number one! Everyone help me figure it out!" There's that. But I think that I don't enjoy power and I think that if you are not a person that enjoys power, you do not enjoy power as an end, leadership is a difficult burden.

    View Source:

  • What was it like being an only child?

    I have nothing to compare it to, honestly. I don't know. It's funny if you look at major relationships, live-in partners, marriages, best friends, they were always one of seven, one of nine, one of five. I think I probably stayed in several relationships just because their family was so awesome. I think being an only child is a particularly limiting thing. I think there's a lot of things you have to go out in the world and learn for yourself when you're an only child. You don't have normal and social constructs, you don't have other people's ideas in your head, you don't have anything to push up against in terms of sibling. You don't get their influences of music or art, it's a deafening silence of you. So I think only children have two ways to go. They're either incredibly self-indulgent or they're incredible self-exploratory. I think they're two different things. I only have one child so maybe I should ask her that. I'm not sure if she counts herself as the only child in her house.

    View Source:

  • So you've always told stories.What draws you to story?

    Stories, all the reasons humanity is drawn to stories. Stories are transformative, stories are escapist, stories are ways of understanding your life or your world or the world around you. My daughter and I have a joke that whenever we see someone who is speeding and truly being an asshole on the road, we always look at each other and say, "Oh, his wife must be pregnant." Then there's this story in our head what must be going on in that car and you don't feel as angry or as negative, or as judgmental, there's always a reason and I think that's what stories are for in our lives. Yeah, I think at different ages and at different times, probably for everyone, but particularly I see myself in this light, the stories. I was someone who always ran dialogue in my head and maybe everyone does that.

    View Source:

  • How do you define creativity? What is creativity to you?

    Creativity to me is, it's, it's connecting two things that have never been connected before. In my mind that is constantly, or at least discovering those things and the feelings, the view of the world, the lens, the response that you have when two things connect and you go ahhh. And all ideas come into your head that were not previously there, that to me is creativity. Plain and simple, I view ... music was always a massive part of my life from a very young age. Reading. I didn't come from a heavily educated or affluent family, but music and reading were always a very big deal. I didn't realize at the time that was sort of the great British way of having a narrative of having a voice, whether you're Irish, Scottish, English. The idea of oral tradition in writing almost is a classless thing.

    View Source:

  • If you could ban one buzzword or piece of jargon what would it be?

    Echo chamber. It's just a term that attributes blame for your cultural insularity to someone else. As in: 'This Facebook echo chamber is a real problem'. Seriously, go out and talk to some people you don't know face to face about thoughts that originated in your own head. The real problem is our collective laziness and avoidance. In-real-life people are hard. The disappointment or anger on their face when you don't agree is pretty direct and it means you need to support it with thoughtful discussion. You can't just repost a link and go brush your teeth.

    View Source:

  • What is your favorite social media platform?

    Instagram because it's mostly original content.

    View Source:

  • If you could go to one marketing event this year which would you choose?

    Vanity Fair’s New Establishment Summit. I went last year and it did more to push my thinking around communication and media than any other single thing I did.

    View Source:

  • Who is the person you most want to meet and why?

    Elon Musk. Because his ventures say, "I don't give a fuck what you think," but his actions show a deep caring for people and the state of the world.

    View Source:

  • What is your favorite piece of creative work ever from the industry?

    'Double Life' for PlayStation.

    View Source:

  • What do you hate most about the industry?

    Solipsism.

    View Source:

  • What is the coolest thing you have seen in the last year in advertising?

    I was a fan of McCann's 'Fearless Girl'. It touched a lot of regular people.

    View Source:

  • What's the best piece of advice you have ever been given?

    Most people won't understand your long-term plan. They need to know what you want them to do a year at a time.

    View Source:

  • Why did you get into this industry?

    At the time it was a way to make a living as a writer. I stayed in it because advertising challenges you. It's the voice that draws you into the dark forest. A curiosity kicks in that's greater than your fear of certain demise.

    View Source:

  • What was your first ever job?

    Scooping at Baskin-Robbins in Whitby, Ontario, Canada. I used to have to go home and soak my right hand in warm water after my shift to uncurl my fingers. The people contact was great though. I'd pull stuff from the news and rename flavors in the ice cream case to see if they'd sell more. My biggest hit was Lady Di's Favorite the day of the royal wedding. It was the cake icing we kept in the back, just edible oil product and sugar. It was a nice ivory color. People couldn't get enough of it.

    View Source: