10 questions with...Simon Harrison

This week we spoke to Simon, Head of Design, to get his thoughts on being shortlisted in the Business-To-Business Marketing category in the Marketing Society Awards for the Advanced FairlTales Campaigns.

1. What was the first job you had?

A paper round. I was 13 years old and getting up at 6 AM every day of the week to deliver newspapers to both sides of a very long road, and honestly? I used to love it. It was peaceful and quiet – even now I still feel very early morning is the best part of the day – it’s certainly the most productive. It also taught me that making an effort can pay dividends – I was getting £150 in tips every Christmas which back in the early eighties went a long way towards upgrading my bmx and radio control cars.

2. If you weren’t working in marketing what would you be doing?

Architect. Or a builder. A ‘doing’ job, something tactile and hands on.

3. What do you think is the biggest challenge facing Marketers today?

There’s an overwhelming amount of insight, data, and ‘buzzwords du jour’ in marketing but there is still no substitute for time.

4. What was the biggest challenge about the FairITales campaign?

The quality of the data.

5. How long did each FairlTale take to design and develop?

From memory, the timescales were fairly lean. Three weeks for initial phases; strategy, concept, messaging, campaign roadmaps and first wave. Thereafter concepts and assets for each wave were executed in about a week; built, tested and deployed the next.

6. What is your favourite FairITales story

A Christmas Carol. Wealth isn’t just monetary. And illustrating the Scrooge character was fun.

7. If you could change one thing about the FairlTales campaign what would it be?

We had some added value ideas up our sleeve that would lift the campaign up a notch, but we couldn’t justify them within budget. That’s always a tough call to make, trying to reconcile the emotional attachment to a concept – the desire to see it live and breathe and be everything you want it to be – against the commercial reality.

8. How did you feel when you found about the nominations?

Mainly relieved!

Nominations and awards are inherently personal and are hard won. It has to be acknowledged that good teams work collaboratively to produce a strong end result, but someone, somewhere, has to have the idea, recognise it for what it is, and believe in it enough to make it happen. Delivering against that vision, taking people on the journey, and compromising less takes genuine passion, ownership, commitment, and a substantial degree of ‘giving a shit’. If you and the team get it right, you’ll deliver something sparkling that will generate results. Arguably that’s what you’re employed to do, but it does have the added benefit of setting you up to be able to enter awards! If you go on to achieve a nomination then that’s external validation and recognition, and you can take pride in the fact that going the extra mile was worth it – you did good. How good? You’ll have to wait and see.

And that’s why you should celebrate a nomination, but be pragmatic about it. There’s an almost unbearable nail-biting wait to find out who will win the award – and everyone else who’s been nominated in your category probably worked just as hard, and cared just as much as you and the team. And let’s be honest, there are some incredibly, incredibly talented people out there doing some amazing and exceptional work – we can’t all win. (I’ll still have my fingers crossed though).

9. If you had to give one piece of advice to someone who wants to be a successful creative, what would it be?

Learn every day, listen, have faith in yourself, work on your weaknesses but play to your strengths, don’t give up, and when you get the right opportunity to go for it. It’s a massive cliché but true, you’ll always have plenty of time to regret what you didn’t do.

10. What recent work has struck a chord with you this year and why?

Firstly the Choreograph identity – it’s just lovely. Secondly, the simplicity of the betty.me brand campaign by Now Advertising Ltd. And thirdly the Japanese Sake ‘KOI’ packaging by Bullet Inc. It. Is. So. Damned. Good.

Thanks, Simon!

Our work for the Advanced rebrand has also been nominated for Re-brand/RE-Launch Strategy of the Year in the Drum Marketing awards.

Simon Harrison | Head of Design | 27th April 2017