5 Minutes with... Peter Riley - 20:20


Tell us what you do for a living and who you work for?
I'm Chief Creative Officer of a digital advertising agency called 20:20. My job is to solve clients' business problems with creativity. Over the last year, for example, this has involved using digital methods to sell more biscuits, get more people to sit in front of the telly and to get more teenagers to use condoms. Not at the same time though. I'm a copywriter at heart but over the years, I've become a 'creative problem-solver'. I did Business Studies, which is for meglomaniacs who know they want to run something, just not sure what.

What does that involve?
I'm responsible for all creative that leaves the agency. If something sucks, it's my fault.

How did you get started in the industry?
I knew I was creative from an early age and I could rationalise creative decisions, so pure 'art' wasn't for me. I studied business because I wanted to learn how to use creativity to solve business problems. This is the secret weapon of all creatives, unfortunately most ad agencies aren't set up to exploit this. I started at a provincial agency and when they made me creative director at 25, I left for the next challenge. 

What would you be doing if you weren't doing that?
I'd be building treehouses in India and sending them around the world. I'd make the best treehouses, I think there's a gap in the market. Also, I had an idea for a feature film about 5 years ago and it won't go away. Most unrealised ideas seem to be a bit lame after a time, but this one keeps hanging in there. Something's happening recently that has made it even more relevant.

What's your all-time favourite piece of creative work?
The Channel Four idents. We've all had that idea but they made it happen. And with stunning attention to detail.

What do you love about your job?
When we're working on a big idea, I can literally 'see' the ideas forming in front of me. It's magical and makes the hairs on my neck stand up. That's when I know we're onto a winner.

What do you hate about your job?
Some agency managers only have one goal and that's to make money. We're in the business of creating profit, but not without fun, fulfillment and creativity. Those manager have very little else to offer to a business. 

Tell us your favourite website
www.ffffound.com is a great inspiration.

If you could give one piece of advice, what would it be?
Alternate between big agencies and small hotshops - you'll learn so much more and at a much quicker rate. It will also be fun to experience both sides of the same coin. If you can, take a job overseas. I went from running a creative department of 80 in a global ad agency to working on my own in my attic when I set up 20:20. Now we're over 300 people, so whilst my next move won't be a start-up, it will be a small operation.

Where can people follow you online?
I don't feel as though the world needs to know what I had for breakfast or which traffic jam I'm sitting in, so I'm a Social Media Observer, not a Participant. I will however gladly answer any personal emails sent to me.


ABOUT 20:20

We can help you offer sophisticated personal experiences in today’s multi-platform world. Our analytical and strategic know-how helps clients understand customer lifestyles, behaviours and needs, allowing us to identify the different digital approaches required to fulfill them.




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