On My Radar: Rick Chant
WE ARE Pi's co-founder and creative director talks about the Only Fools and Horses effect, the likely shift to advertising aimed at AI appliances and the secrets of the M25.
What’s the most creative advertising idea you’ve seen recently?
In 2018 Professor Andrew Jarosz of Mississippi State University served vodka cranberry cocktails to 20 male students until their blood alcohol levels indicated intoxication. He then gave each a series of word associated problems to solve. Not only did those that imbibed give more correct answers than those that abstained, but they also arrived at the solutions more quickly. The professor’s conclusion was that drunk people are better at creative problem solving than sober ones.
What website(s) do you use most regularly and why?
Whosampled; "Been done" is that two word, two syllable death bell heard too many times in adland. Who gives a flying F sharp? In the music industry it’s encouraged, celebrated and explored. Let’s not kill ideas just because there may have been something similar 10 years ago as a radio ad in Kettering. Let’s embrace it, run with it, see where it goes. Let’s be more music. Though the Chemical Brothers [below] are naughty as fuck.
What’s the most recent piece of tech that you’ve bought and why?
The most recent I bought into was the idea that if you drive round the M25 (the orbital highway that surrounds Greater London) for 25 hours straight it reveals where it leads. Game. Changer.
What product could you not live without?
What’s the best film you’ve seen over the last year?
The Vivienne Westwood documentary is great just to hear her refer to The Sex Pistols as ‘Glen and the Saturday boys.’
What film do you think everyone should have seen and why?
Herbie Goes Bananas. A car with a mind of its own. Terrifying.
What’s the most significant change you’ve witnessed in the industry since you started working in it?
I think a change we will see is as virtual assistants begin to organise more and more of our lives - refilling our refrigerators, cupboards and wardrobes - brands will shift marketing to AI instead of to consumers, to influence and persuade platforms in order to get preferential positioning. ‘The best an Alexa can get’ kinda thing.
What’s your preferred social media platform and why?
fivverr.com. I knew about it, then someone showed me. Magic.
What’s your favourite TV show and why?
Anything Partridge; I feel like I’ve grown up with Alan. He’s been a part of my life for the last 20-odd years.
What’s your favourite podcast?
I’m a big sucker for anything Buxton. Dr Buckles warms the cockles so anything from his musical insights and adventures on BUG to his chats around the microphone campfires.
In a similar bag, the Richard Herring Leicester Square thing is a great podcast but also a delight to nip into live for a mid-week inspiration cocktail for the price of a grande vanilla bullshit latte cappa-frappa-cino.
What show/exhibition has most inspired you recently?
I went to see a Dutch amateur dramatic ensemble perform an english comedy about the Nazi occupation of France in a public toilet turned theatre in the east of Amsterdam. Magic.
If there was one thing you could change about the advertising industry, what would it be?
The Only Fools and Horses Effect.
When first aired audiences despised the new BBC situation comedy. Rotten tomatoes were thrown at it for the first two series but the writers and commissioners believed in it and and by series three they found their mojo and the show went on to run for over 20 years, became the UK’s most beloved show and is still repeated somewhere in the world every 30 mins (I think.) The advertising (and broadcast) industry tendency now would be to shoot it in the paddock after episode one, fire everyone and look for a new idea. Creating inconsistent, disparate messages that confuse an audience even more than boring, unintelligent, irrelevant ones.
Let’s believe in our ideas more. Let’s believe in ourselves more, the answer isn’t always to throw everything away and start again. Let’s work to create consistent brand ideas that are relevant and radical.
Who or what has most influenced your career and why?
Barney Hobson [co-founder at WE ARE Pi]. He saved my life on an ice rink at the turn of the century. I have been indebted to him ever since.
Tell us one thing about yourself that most people won’t know.
Hitler may have had only one but I’ve got three.