On My Radar: Justine White
Co-founder and managing director of Freefolk, Justine White talks Freakonomics, her favourite media, and the influx of technology on the industry scene.
What’s the best ad campaign you’ve seen recently?
KFC’s FCK apology print ad was genius! TV-wise, Cadbury's Mum's Birthday [below] and not just because we worked on it. I’m not sure I even need to expand on why it’s so great: I think it struck a chord inside and outside of the industry.
What website(s) do you use most regularly and why?
Apart from all the usual ad industry and film/TV industry sites, I always love a little geek out on Freakonomics.com. If you’re not familiar with the site, podcast and books, they use facts, data and studies to uncover the “hidden side of everything”. I happened to listen recently when Indra Nooyi from Pepsico talked about the controversial 'Lady Doritos' which set The Sun and Twitter alight with vitriol. The soundbite obviously feeds into the current sentiment of gender inequality ...but she also talked about the ‘glass ceiling’ gender pay gap and how do businesses and society adapt to staff needing to look after children and aged parents which is a big part of the issue.
Not only that PepsiCo, one of the worlds largest companies has a female CEO who turned its fortunes around in the face of the financial meltdown. So she’s kicking ass.
What’s the most recent piece of tech that you’ve bought and why?
I've just installed my first ‘smart home’ type device, a WiFi thermostat. ‘Life changing’ is what the plumber told me....he was right. Never come home from abroad to a cold house again!
Facebook, Instagram or Twitter?
What’s your favourite app on your phone and why?
Mixcloud is the music app of the moment for me, mostly because of the radio type shows I’ve been discovering. Somehow this bonkers guy from Dubai (Shady Shadow Show) came up on my feed one day, he broadcasts from his vinyl-only music store and sounds like he’s stoned (in a hilarious way). But he plays some absolute gems and makes me laugh - which always helps commuting through London at rush hour!
What’s your favourite TV show and why?
The Marvellous Mrs Maisel is my current favourite. It’s about an Upper West Side New York housewife who accidentally falls into stand up comedy and breaking the mould. The script is super sharp: set in the late 50s, it has a musical aesthetic and it’s downright funny. It deservedly won two Emmys and most of Series 1 is directed by co-creator/writer Amy Sherwin/Palladino and has a female VFX supervisor too, Lesley Robson Forster.
What film do you think everyone should have seen?
The Jungle Book.
Where were you when inspiration last struck?
At the Hayward Gallery in front of a massive Gursky.
What’s the most significant change you’ve witnessed in the industry since you started working in it?
When film was superseded by data as an image recording system, I thought that was huge. But now I think the biggest overall change, encompassing all of us in the industry, has got to be the augmentation of data and the arrival of tech on the scene. It really hit me a couple of years ago at Cannes Lions. We’ve all had our - shall we say - ‘lost’ moments in Cannes but to look down the Croisette and see nothing but Facebook and Twitter beaches - that made me feel really, really lost.
If there was one thing you could change about the advertising industry, what would it be?
I’d like to somehow get brands to see that the large corporate ‘one stop shops’ are not necessarily giving them the best value for money (creatively and financially). If they don’t insist on getting competitive bids for production and post production services, they might find that by the time they realise this, all the cutting-edge creative independents will be gone.
What or who has most influenced your career and why?
Probably Jason Watts who I co-founded Freefolk with. If it wasn’t for a fortuitous meeting down the pub in Soho I don’t think I would have ended up here.
Tell us one thing about yourself that most people won’t know…
I went to a very alternative primary school for a few years, it was on the same wavelength as Montessori, but even less structured. No uniforms, no structured classes whatsoever, we called our teachers by their first names. It was pretty out-there, but a respectful place. I remember one kid going around completely naked one day having covered himself in green paint.