I’ve spent the last 15 years as a creative in the minority in both New York and London, so creative equality is close to my heart. And I haven’t seen anyone effect more change for female creatives than Ali Hanan (below), CEO of Creative Equals. Nothing inspires me more than someone who can both advocate change, as well as create tangible impact. On a macro level, she develops and tirelessly implements programmes to diversify the industry’s creative force such as Creative Comeback and Rise, and on a micro level, she champions individuals every day. She inspires me to prove that being part of an underrepresented gender, race or age group is a strength, not a handicap.
I’m obsessed with public art that’s created to delight, provoke thought, or be a mirror on culture. It’s what inspires my approach to creating brand experiences people will remember. I will never forget the dizzying excitement I felt walking through The Gates (more than 7000 vinyl orange ‘gates’) in Central Park by Christo and Jeanne-Claude or witnessing awestruck commuters in the midst of Antony Gormley’s Event Horizon, which featured 31 life-size sculptures in Madison Square Park (and likely inspired Calm’s award-winning Project 84). I also love the SKIP Gallery by creative duo Baker & Borowski, Please Feed the Lions in Trafalgar Square by Es Devlin, and Jenny Holzer’s recent VIGIL for gun control projected on Rockefeller Centre in NY.
The creative opportunity for mixed reality is currently blowing my mind. A merging of the real and virtual worlds through immersive tech, mixed reality is already transforming theatre (search: Royal Shakespeare Company tabletop theatre experience) and has huge potential for brands. Over the summer, I experimented with Magic Leap to create a ‘mixed reality bar’ for Rekorderlig, where you could put on AR glasses and step into a magical ‘Rekorder-land’, created by immersive visionary Connie Harrison. I’m interested in elements that can construct the next generation of brand experience – merging tech, social, and theatre.
Brand Lego is a masterclass in staying culturally relevant while true to your legacy. In the last month, they’ve launched a timely campaign to ‘Rebuild the World’ and a sustainability programme to redistribute bricks to children in need. And let’s not forget that Lego movies are basically a 90-minute product ad to a captivated target audience. Oh and don’t get me started on the customisable limited-edition wooden Lego Minifigure – brand storytelling plus product innovation. Genius! I see you, Lego.
My Instagram feed
Working in social media, you have to stay current on all platforms, but it’s my Instagram feed that always gets my creative juices flowing. I follow people who make me see things in a new way. I’ve got two accounts – one is private just for close friends and family (who voluntarily want to see a non-stop feed of my daughter) and one is my public account @everythingyouseehere, which is my go-to feed for visual and cultural references. Some favourites are @visualfodder, @erin.winkowski, and @onemilliondiamonds. And @animalsdoingthings, obvs.
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