The Source: Leslie Sims
Leslie Sims, CCO of Y&R North America, on being in Barcelona and the genius of Taika Waititi
What is the most creative advertising idea you’ve seen in the last few months?
The most recent is Heineken Worlds Apart [below], which brings together people with vastly different views. I think it’s pretty fantastic, not to mention extremely well-timed given the backlash to Pepsi’s tone deaf ad with Kendall Jenner. It addresses sensitive political topics, and it works. There are a lot of brands wading into the social commentary waters and this one holds up without getting worthy.
What product hasn’t been invented yet that would make your life/job better?
It’s a toss up between a machine that exercises me while I stay asleep and a case-study generator.
What product could you not live without?
Normally it would be tortilla chips, but I have a suspicion I won’t be able to live without the new cordless earphones someone recently ordered for me. You only have to drop your phone so many times (because the headphones have got caught up in something and then some guy in a van has charged you 100 bucks to fix the screen in the lobby of your office) before you admit that you have a problem.
What website do you use most regularly?
Before the whole Trump debacle, I’d never worried about questioning ‘facts’ in the United States. Now, first thing in the morning, I look at The New York Times and The Guardian – usually online. They’re the most go-to of my news subscriptions. Now, more than ever, I want to support fair and honest reporting and real news.
What’s your favourite website?
I can’t say I have a favourite. I’m one of those people who finds themselves mindlessly scrolling through Facebook while on the train home; clicking on articles people have posted and anything that grabs my attention.
Growing up in the south and then living the last 20 years in New York, my Facebook arena has massively diverse perspectives being served up. It’s both fantastic, and horrifying, at the same time.
If you could live in one city, where would it be?
Barcelona. The siesta is the best invention ever. The city is right on the water, the food is amazing and the culture and people are so relaxed. Family dinner alfresco at 11pm on a Tuesday is just a normal thing. For now though, Stamford, Connecticut, with its views of Long Island Sound from the back deck, suits me just fine.
Who’s your favourite designer?
[Graphic designer] Hamish McArthur.
What track/artist would you listen to for inspiration?
I have three go-to’s lately. First is Cold Little Heart by Michael Kiwanuka, the theme to [TV series] Big Little Lies. So, so, so good.
Second is Do You Remember by Jarryd James, which was used in the Western Sydney University ad featuring Deng Adut [below], a former child soldier in Sudan who, as a refugee in Australia, got a degree from WSU and went on to become a lawyer. It was a great piece that won a silver Lion at Cannes last year. Every time the spot played in the jury room, we couldn’t stop talking about it and how the track was too good. I still listen to that song over and over when I walk through the city.
The third track I’m all about right now is Águas de Março (Waters of March) by Antonio Carlos Jobim and Elis Regina. I love it. It calms me down and makes me feel like I’m on a beach somewhere.
What’s your favourite magazine?
New York Magazine, and once in a blue moon, I come across a hard copy of McSweeney’s [published by Dave Eggers], which is always wickedly funny. And these are good times for satire.
What fictitious character do you most relate to?
The guy from The Lord of the Rings [Sam], who always wants to have a second breakfast and doesn’t wear shoes.
What’s the best film you’ve seen over the last year?
Boy [below] by Taika Waititi. It’s a New Zealand film from 2010, but I only just saw it on a plane when my husband and I were flying to see his family in Wellington (he’s from New Zealand).
From the blurb it sounded like just an OK basic boy-and-his-dad movie, except the kid dances like Michael Jackon and his dad was in prison. The performances are so spot on, the animated scene transitions so well-crafted. It’s one of the most unique and hilariously touching movies I’ve ever seen. Dry, funny and bizarre. Taika Waititi is so great, I could watch his films all day.
Mac or PC?
Dell is a client, so both.
Who’s your favourite photographer?
Paul Nicklen. His work is both breathtaking and heartbreaking. Without saying a word, he speaks volumes about the delicate state of our environment and the effects of climate change. His photographs make you feel a deep sense of panic about what’s happening to the environment, which is awesome.
People need to feel panicked. I believe there’s a life force and energy we get from being around living, breathing nature. People need to go outside, look at the stars, lay in the grass, feel branches on trees. Bad things happen when people are stuck in cement boxes for too long.
If you could have been in any band, what band would you choose?
I’ve already lived the dream [see below, Sims in a marching band].
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