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What’s the most creative advertising idea you’ve seen recently?

It doesn’t need any more praise, but Mouldy Whopper is really great. But loads of our industry hated it, and I’ve got a bit of an issue with one of the reasons they hated it. Many of these advertising experts preach the need to break conventions, be bold and be different, for them to then turn round and justify a hatred of Mouldy Whopper because it was disgusting and not the right way to show food in advertising is massively disingenuous. In fact, it’s dangerous. It sets a terrible example to the next generation. Greatness is few and far between these days, we need to be big enough to acknowledge it when it shows up, for the sake of the industry.

Burger King – The Mouldy Whopper

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What website(s) do you use most regularly?

Ask the data and it’ll say Microsoft Teams and Outlook. Connecting the musical dots with the Shazam/Spotify combo is an endless source of great happiness.


What’s the most recent piece of tech that you’ve bought?

Airpods. Now I sit at home all day locked in the spare room I have little use for them. But in the halcyon days before, they made by long commute joyful, and less wirey.


What product could you not live without?

Running shoes. If I lived by a flat, sandy beach I guess I could do without them – but I need the protection. I’m not hardcore like those East Africa middle distance legends.

What’s the best film you’ve seen over the last year?

I watched OJ: Made In America for the second time this year. It’s a sprawling, scintillating and fascinating documentary that pitches the balance of US society so eloquently.


What film do you think everyone should have seen?

The masterpiece that is A Matter of Life and Death. A profound and wonderfully thoughtful movie that is eccentric and bonkers in equal measure. The scale of the imagination and ambition involved put it in a class of its own.                                                     

What’s your preferred social media platform?

I’m not a lover of social media. I can’t get over the show offy-ness. It’s all a bit dishonest. But I do really like TikTok. It’s so active. The creativity it encourages and generates in people is brilliant. That said, you won’t catch me dancing on it.


What’s your favourite TV show?

Twin Peaks had a massive effect on me. As a teenager I watched it on BBC2 every Tuesday from a darkened bedroom on a tiny 10-inch screen. It’s the show that changed everything and led TV into its golden age. But the show that I think has been seriously overlooked is The Leftovers. It’s a masterpiece. We’ll look back in years to come and see it as a real high point. It’s creator, Damon Lindelof, recently made Watchmen, which is also sublime.

What’s your favourite podcast?

Malcom Gladwell’s Revisionist History is consistently fascinating and super-smart. Extra awesome when he teams up with the equally brilliant Rick Rubin on the Broken Record podcast too.


What show/exhibition has most inspired you recently?

I really enjoyed Mark Leckey [below] at Tate Britain. His work is effortlessly evocative. He says he likes “wallowing in the mire of nostalgia” and I’ve got a lot of time for that. His work gives me feelings and flashbacks from my childhood that have never really surfaced before. I love that and find it hugely inspiring.

What’s the most significant change you’ve witnessed in the industry since you started working in it?

Instinct and gut feel used to be king. Trust was everywhere. And the work was brilliant. It’s a shame there’s now so little faith in intuitive, smart, funny people that really know what they’re doing.


If there was one thing you could change about the advertising industry, what would it be?

The industry used to be full of people who knew the power of being different. People like that are now in the minority. The importance of being different has just skipped a generation. I’d bring the value in being different back.

Who or what has most influenced your career?

The movies of Paul Thomas Anderson [Magnolia, above]. He just does everything better than everyone else. In times of need there’s always inspiration or a reference in his work.


Tell us one thing about yourself that most people won’t know.

Whilst working in McDonalds, I once got a hernia from lifting one too many boxes of frozen Filet-O-Fish.

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