‘Chronicles of a Head of Digital’ – 25

Always keep an open mind. Treat every project, every job, meeting, deadline as an opportunity.

Cheesy management talk yes, but true.


Sometimes that Fabergé egg can come from the most (on paper) unlikely things and/or places.

I was trying to be positive this week, but I will have a quick rant to get me in the mood for writing as usual.

Brand snobbery. FFS!! Be that at an agency level, or a workforce level. Time and time again, I have come up against people who look at an account with disdain, coz it’s a smaller client, it’s not the glamour of that global Cisco account, or the European launch of the new Galaxy phone. It’s dull and not worth doing: “not worthy of my time”. Well…

Balls to you!

One of the accounts I have most fun with (currently) is a small local company where I can come up with pseudo dating apps (#SwipeRight), face swaps, body swaps, animated gifs and it’s always good fun.

I do love an animated gif.

These little accounts often have more freedom to do stuff, good stuff, cutting-edge stuff, the ‘breaking new ground’ stuff. These can be the best ones to work on. You lead what goes out rather than being led by brand and global HQ.

But it’s not always the little companies… Sometimes you find the right person in the right B2B global tech company that gets it. That will let you flex that muscle.

To paraphrase Little Mix:

Shout out to Alex / You are that man / You may not have gone with kittens / But you made Ron who he is

So grab every job, big or small, as an opportunity to push it a bit further. It keeps the brain alive, and flexes the old creative muscle before that goes limp and stops working. You need to find the fun where you can. Even if the end thing will be dull as, always give them another, ‘better’ option. Keep chipping away.

By ‘better’, I mean thought out, reasons behind. BETTER. Not just prettier.

Give them the POS, the banner, the email, the comms they will take, but also give them what they should take as that side dish. Ninety-nine times out of 100 it will go no further than being nodded at, but it will be banked in the old mems… And as much as possibly stimulating the next brief you get from them to do something more… It keeps you alive, keeps you on that curve if not just ahead of it, allows you to test new channels, mechanics, visuals, brushes, words or whatever your game is… And these little things you test could well feed into the bigger ones too. They can make that case in point, that proof in the pudding.

So yes, no matter how big or small, how local or global, it’s worth plugging away with pushing that envelope a tad. Challenge, be honest, frank and open, and do try to extend the worth of what you are doing for the benefit of the end product. Don’t just do what is scripted. If that is your mindset, go and make your porridge elsewhere please. Always conjure up a side dish of something more. An amuse-bouche. To keep yourself alive as much as to titillate and tempt the client.

Sometimes you have to be prescriptive, and that is life. Ad of the day in The Telegraph (#JustSayin) is a case in point, but always suggest more and better.

Like Brunel, Edison, Hadid, Branson, Corbett, Hockney, Bowie, Salt-N-Pepa – push it, strive for more each time, challenge. That’s how progress happens.

You have to make you own fun in life, and find it where you can.

Don’t be beige.