Features

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Tony Malcolm, Leo Burnett

Published

We don’t make brands famous, we make brands popular.

We create work that is inclusive and bold and appeals to the mass market. We want to create work that a brand can grow into, that will appeal to more than just the immediate target audience.

What do you actually do?
I creative direct on two large accounts in McDonald’s and Kellogg’s. Creative directing to me is quality control and spanning the divide of keeping agency and client happy with sound solutions. I also work into other creative directors here on their accounts and muck in when it comes to the agency’s new business drive working into Justin Tindall our ECD. I have also recently been involved in work for the film ‘Cocaine Unwrapped’ to help raise awareness of the affects the UK’s cocaine habit has on people thousand’s of miles away in South America. We snort more of the stuff per capita than any other country in the world, so we wanted to help people make a more informed decision by showing them their role in the process of the production and trafficking of cocaine under the end line ‘You can’t ignore what’s under your nose’.

When and why you joined?
I’ve had a thirty-year long history in advertising working at some of the best agencies in London. I’ve been at Leo’s for eight of those. What attracted me to the agency was the client list at the time. Real stuff you’d see on shelves with names your mum knew. I’ve always loved populist advertising and saw great opportunities here.

How did you get started in the industry?
I went to Hounslow Borough College to do a graphics course, part of which included advertising. I soon found I was shit at graphics, but had more of a flair for advertising. We were set briefs on the D&AD student’s course and my work was assessed by industry professionals. They had flash offices and gave out free beer, so that was the deal clincher for me. I formed a partnership and got a book together. My break came when Dave Trott said he would only see me if I did thirty campaigns in two weeks. I did, from reading the copy on press ads instead of looking for briefs and he picked out the best ads and I photocopied them and sent them to the best people in the best thirty agencies that he recommended. We sent the work with a letter of recommendation from Trotty himself and got hired the following day at Saatchi and Saatchi by John Bacon and Alan Midgeley.

What would you be doing if you weren't in the industry?
I’m not bad at caricatures, so I might be one of those guys who do portraits of tourists down at the seaside or on the corner of Piccadilly Circus.

What's your current favourite piece of creative work?
I love the OK Go play with Chrome work for Google. It’s just genius.

What do you love about your job?
It affords me a freedom and diversity very few other jobs could. I get to work with smart people who inspire me and make me jealous of their talent. I even get to tell famous people what to do. I rarely know what to expect from one day to the next and that keeps you on your toes. I consider myself very lucky to work in such a dynamic and challenging business.

If you could give one piece of advice for someone starting out, what would it be?
The most important thing you have to sell is yourself. Don’t just send boring emails begging for work or try and get in via Linkedin (unless it’s an innovative use). Be creative. Show how clever and hungry you are. Listen to advice and keep going. Be inventive to get inside CD’s and ECD’s heads. Get work experience and impress the hell out of people, even the production and traffic people who will spread the word of how great you are to work with. Never act like a wanker. If you get a job, carry on doing the same on real briefs.

If you have one Super power what would it be?
Flight. I’ve just been stuck in a cab with a driver who insisted on talking inane drivel for half an hour. Nice bloke, but it’s hard to keep that sort of conversation going without losing the will to live. I want to be able to fly to post prod and recording sessions and wear my underpants outside my trousers.

What do you want to be when you grow up?
I asked my son this when he was young and he randomly answered ‘battery tester’. Such great ambition in one so young. I want to be the owner of Fulham FC.

What was your worst job and what did you learn from it?
I worked in the laundry sorting room of a hospital. I learnt to keep my rubber gloves on so the soiled sheets and blankets didn’t infect the flaky bits around the cuticles of your nails and make your fingers swell up. I also learnt how to throw lumps of poo and umbilical cords wrapped in blankets into the skip that went to the incinerator.

You have already worked with some amazing brands, who would you like to work with next?
I’d like to work with the FA to get them to update their views about our national team and how we bring grass roots talent up to think like the Spanish instead of being too afraid to express themselves. We are way behind at the moment and that showed at Euro 2012. Football really needs to get its house in order and bring the overpaid prima donna players to heel.

Too cool for school, or too school for cool?
I’m so uncool, I don’t even know what the question means.

Your favourite app or website?
My favourite app is log my run and my favourite website, according to my history is Fulhamfc.com

Facebook or Twitter?
Facebook, apart from people trying to engage you in some crappy game or pointless group. I have a Twitter account, but I’m not sure whether my life isn’t interesting enough to tweet about, or too interesting to have the time to tweet. To anyone who follows me, don’t, I haven’t got a clue where I’m going.

Website: leoburnett.co.uk

Twitter: @LeoBurnettLDN

Facebook: facebook.com/LeoBurnettWorldwide

 

 

 

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