I have known Laura since the beginning of my career in advertising and she still continues to amaze me with her energy and her passion and her commitment to everything she does. She is one of our Creative Social fellows and continues to support us in everything we do. Thanks. It was therefore an absolute pleasure to finish the week with a conversation with the inspirational Laura JB:
What is your current ‘That’s Me That Is”? The piece of work from the last 6 months that best defines you?
It’s got to be the Marcus Haney project – we’re all so proud of it here! Its having its first screening at Rooftop Cinema on the 8th June, by the way!
What is exciting you right now?
In terms of the work I’m doing, its connected campaigns . We’ve been working a lot recently connecting retail spaces and experiences with clients’ digital ecosystems. And to the ad campaigns we’ve developed around them too. Proper, robust physical/digital work with a really strong advertising element. Exploring real-world customer data and how it maps over ‘big data’ is really enlightening. I’m trying to put some of our experiments to work in a piece I’m making for an exhibition in Australia in August too, so playing a lot.
Outside of what I’m making, London is just blooming at the moment and I’m loving every day being here. Especially after having travelled so much over the last 18 months.
What was the biggest learning from your presidency at the D&AD?
You can’t achieve everything you want to in a year, but you can sure give it a good go!
Ever since I have known you, you have always had your fingers in many pies (e.g. D&AD Presidency, She Says and CANNT). How do you manage to combine all these things with the demands of being a parent?
An awesome husband, and growing teams around you that can take stuff on and run with things! And the ability to work from anywhere – I do a lot of work outside office hours at home. And I’m not very good at sitting still.
Would you consider yourself a Hacker, Maker, Teacher or Thief?
A combination of them all – they come into their own at different times.
You live in London. What are the must dos for anyone visiting?
The Wellcome Collection for the most curious collection of exhibitions (currently there’s one on sex and one on forensics – both totally absorbing).
To eat it has to be the Smoking Goat for the fish sauce chilli wings.
And because it’s summer, a stroll along Regents Canal and the streets around it, from Angel to Mile End.
What trend do you think has the potential to most disrupt brands?
Putting their faith and finance into big, global networks because of cost savings and missing the magic that’s happening around them in culture.
Do you think that brands/advertising are killing culture?
Brands have so much to add to culture, but we need to step right out of the current status quo of advertising to really deliver work that leaves a legacy. What we do can add so much creativity and voice to culture, if we’re less fearful of change.
What is the best example of a brand adding to culture?
Red Bull is an obvious one, or Lifebouy, but any brand that’s an enabler, or inspires, adds to culture in some way. Uber are challenging but there’s no denying they have changed the face of travel globally. AirBnB the same. The Body Shop changed the way beauty products were developed across the board in the 1990s. And I’m still proud to have built the Barclays Life Skills programme, which is doing great things. Now we just have to campaign and apply our creativity to fix the rest of that organisation ?
If there was one thing in advertising you could fix, what would it be?
I have two.
The loss of so many interesting, independent agencies and their people that exist to make great work and do something wonderful.
And the serious lack of diversity and different voices out there.
With the Cannes Lions coming up next week, what work would you like to see getting the big prizes?
What’s the one business book you would recommend to anyone who wants to get ahead in advertising?
Hacker, Maker, Teacher, Thief of course! Anything by Dan Areily or Jaron Lanier. How to Be an Existentialist by Gary Cox. Generally, I read things about people and behaviours, more philosophy or academic research than business books.
What’s the best piece of advice you have been given (and from whom)?
“Only boring people get bored” – Mr Sophocles, by English head teacher at James Ruse.
What’s the one question you would like to ask a fellow Social?
“Shall we meet somewhere soon for dinner?”
And I’d like to pick Ben Palmer’s brains about building an agency, after reading the book written by his co-founder Rick Webb…
Flo Heiss wants to ask you “What’s it all about?”
The tingle you get when you’ve made something that’s connected to someone.
Laura will be speaking in more depth about the best piece of advice she has ever been given at Shoreditch House on 27th May 2015 at 7pm. If you are a member, bookings can be made through House Seven. If you’re not, find a member who will take you
Alternatively you can book tickets to our next CS Presents on 2nd June in London here
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