Creating joyful memories with People's Choice 2020 Influencer of the Year - #AnnualSpotlight

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Ever since Podge Events Founder Phil Jones entered the community, we knew he would become a very special member of Creativepool.

Phil is the man behind the infamous Podge Lunch launched in the 90s, created by request of the key players in the design industry. Apart from offering counseling and advice to industry businesses in the past 20 years, Phil and his team have evolved Podge Lunches to reach beyond the design community and embrace other sectors as well. In 2019, Phil entered our Top 100 Influencers of the Year. In 2020, he scooped People's Choice from the community in the same category, winning in what is one of our absolute most prestigious categories.

Today we are discussing The Annual with Phil Jones himself, for one of the last Annual Spotlights of 2021.

The Annual 2021 final submissions deadline is less than a week a way! Enter now to grab your slice of creative immortality!


What feels unique about The Annual?

As somebody who served an apprenticeship in a printers I have always preferred to see things in print rather than in pure digital format. I still have my newspaper delivered through my letterbox every day. So Creativepool’s ambition to retain a printed annual is something to be admired.  It is also great to have something that has a genuinely global feel.

How does it feel to have won the Creativepool Annual Awards?

It was a great feeling winning the People’s Choice Creative Influencer of the Year award, especially in a year that none of us have ever seen before or hopefully will ever see again. 2020 created very few really happy memories and winning this brought a smile to my face. I used to play a lot of football before my grey hair phase and the best award was always the “players player of the year” and somehow this particular award had that feel about it. I think the people in closest position were from Brazil, the USA  and Canada.


Will you be entering again this year? If so, what are your hopes?

I will be encouraging the agencies I work with to enter this year. I use a different agency to brand the various podge lunches each year, design, digital and sport and I am always proud of the work they submit. Hopefully we can get the 2021 work entered and potentially winning.

Can you tell us more about your winning submissions and what you think impressed the judges?

Well in my case the award was not about specific work I submitted it was more about a lifetime of doing fun and interesting things and building up so much goodwill from the creative & sports communities. It was really good to see so many of them making the effort to give me their vote.


What advice would you share with other agencies and individuals looking to grab a prize?

Well when I was a young lad after a 5 year apprenticeship I did a season at a Blackpool holiday camp as a bluecoat and was involved in the children’s talent competition amongst other things. I remember a little Irish lad getting up to sing and he belted out a song at the top of his voice. To be honest it was pretty rubbish but he had a massive smile on his face and told me that his mum and dad had drilled into him “if you ain’t Innit you can’t Winnit” and he worked on the law of averages. The same kid won a free holiday for his family by winning the donkey derby.  I think entering competitions is a good way of reminding everyone of what great work went into each project. Client’s like winners.


How do you feel Covid has impacted the creative landscape in 2020?

There is no doubting that the creative landscape has been greatly impacted by Covid. My own business these days is actually an events business and we organise four events a year www.podgeevents.com that bring together people from the worlds of digital, design, sport and music. During the course of a normal year we would have four events and 1,000 guests. In 2020 the wheels came off and we had to baton down the hatches. We plan to kick things off again on October 15th which will be 18 months after our last gathering which was actually our 25th anniversary. How can the Annual help? Normality!! We just need to see normal things happening again that everyone looks forward to and Creativepool represent a massive pool of creative people who have such a strong influence on the mood of the country. We need to get our energy back asap.


What are your hopes for 2021 and beyond?

I hope that some of the changes we have all had to make will remain in place long after we all can go back to work. Working from home has meant that many people have spent quality time with their families and been there when the children wake up and when they go to bed. Many journeys to and from work added to a 5 day week have always seemed like an imperfect way to live our lives. I think that many more companies will now feel confident to offer their staff 3 and/or 4 day a week contracts and allow them more time at home. This will benefit the individuals but also the companies and completely change the way we have always thought about our over commitment to work. Some employers have come out of the pandemic with staff who really appreciate how they were treated during this worrying time. Others may have to work much harder to win back the confidence of employees. 

What is your most exciting project in the next year?

I personally had a rejig of the companies I work with at the beginning of the pandemic. During my time working with Wonderful Creative and also Brand42 I have not been able to have any human interactions with the owners. By winning the Creative Influencer of the Year with Creativepool I would like to use some of that influence in the real world and help the agencies I work with meet interesting people in touchy feely places like The Groucho Club or L’Escargot and not via zoom or teams. My most exciting project will be diving back into human situations that I have always loved. More than anything I want to get all my mates back together to celebrate the 26th year of the podge lunch and to be able to throw around a few hugs on the day. Bring it on.


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