Trailblazers: Andrew Reynolds, a creative director winning the internet

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Andrew Reynolds is hot stuff. He’s Creative Director at Hong Kong’s Brand Union, winner of a people’s choice Webby Award and one of Creativepool’s Top 25. He’s also behind one of this year’s most fun campaigns; KFC's Finger Lickin’ Good Edible Nail Polish which, naturally, we needed to know more about. 

So congratulations on making it into Creativepool's Top 25! Can you tell us a bit about your career journey up until your current position at Brand Union?

Thank you! I worked as a graphic designer in London for a couple of years before deciding to go travelling around the world. I felt I learned more in that year than during my entire education. When I got back to the UK I was totally broke and answered an advert in Design Week to work at a blue-chip agency in Dubai. The agency was GSCS–the largest branding agency at the time in Dubai–and I was soon living on the beach, eating Shawarmas and basking in the UAE’s opulence. GSCS was then bought by WPP/Fitch and I enjoyed being part of an international network. After a few years I moved to Hong Kong and I’ve now been at Brand Union for five years.


Tell us about one of your most recent projects

The Blockbuster Box that we did last year was fun. We collaborated with Ogilvy and Pizza Hut to launch a double pizza promotion. Pizza Hut shared a prototype of a larger box with us, and asked if we could do something cool with it. We talked about how you’d eat pizza and watch movies, and how the box looked like a projector, so the idea was born from there. We toyed with lots of ways to create and add a lens before redesigning the Pizza Saver so that it could hold it. We also commissioned four local artist to create illustrations that interacted with the lens based on movie genres, to give the boxes that extra bang. Finally, we built an app from which you can stream short films.

This was a great project to work on, we collaborated with lots of great people and the result was pretty cool. The client was also stoked as the work embraced their values and took the Pizza Hut experience directly into the homes of their customers. The internet loved it too, which brought Pizza Hut plenty of PR value and us a few awards. These include people’s choice at The Webby Awards which we’re quite proud of.

Have you got any upcoming projects you can talk to us about?

We just launched the Governor’s Choice which is an export brand for Mandalay Rum. This was another really fun brand to work with, especially after the client bought into our idea of creating a world that is a parody of colonial Mandalay. We based the whole creative journey in an 1830’s Mandalay which is addicted to Mandalay rum and designed a local newspaper called the 'Mandalay Gazette' which we populated with rum-soaked stories and illustrations. The Gazette was then used to wrap the bottle and was also repurposed into a series of print adverts.


How is life living and working in Hong Kong?

Hong Kong is awesome. It’s a mashup of different cultures, people and environments - an urban jungle within an actual jungle. I think it’s these ultra contrasts that make it so exciting. Like anywhere it has its downsides and from a work perspective clients can sometimes be more bureaucratic than say in London. There are often lots of layers that work needs to cut through before it’s approved, and this sometimes results in ideas getting lost along the way.


We love your KFC nail polish (and think it's slightly bonkers). Can you tell us about the project and how the idea developed?

Yes, it’s super bonkers. But also super successful, earning KFC 300+ million media impressions and a 12% increase in sales (in a declining market). We partnered with Ogilvy again to bring this to life and I know that KFC had seen what we had done for Pizza Hut and wanted to do something equally cool. I think it was Creative Director, John Koay, who came up with the idea originally. First we had to first convince the client that it would work, and also that it would be safe! For that we went through a long process of sanitisation requirements including looking into shelf life and storage.

One of the hardest things was getting the colour right, so we had to use some creative measures to make it look ‘tasty’. We also needed it to look cool as KFC wanted to reach out to a younger audience, so we took cues from the world of fashion for the packaging and used hand-painted type with a minimalist design aesthetic to bridge the worlds of chicken and couture! We also created a music video to help launch the promotion on social media, teasing the idea on Facebook initially, before holding a press event at which we invited bloggers and local celebrities to come and lick fingers. The project received lots of web love - “KFC just won the internet”. Buzzfeed.

Any thoughts on Brexit and it's likely effect on you?

I was at the Cannes Lions when they dropped the Brexit bomb and the mood noticeably changed. It will be interesting to see what kind of effect it has on our industry, especially with the freedom of movement. One of the main attractions of working for a network is the ability to move within it, so let’s see…


What work are you really enjoying at the moment?

I thought The Displaced was a brilliant idea. This was where the NY Times gave away Google cardboard viewers along with the Sunday paper, so that readers could experience first hand the refugee crisis by watching a series of films that followed three children navigating their way through war zones and famine. Watching the films through VR, it felt like you were really accompanying them on these terrifying journeys. They basically made the first, first-person journalism and it was such an effective use of VR technology.

I think there have been some great uses of VR in the last 12 months. Lockhead Martin’s The Field Trip to Mars was also pretty epic.


What is your favourite kind of brief?

Open ones. I think we do our best work when a client comes to us with a problem and asks what we can do to solve it. The Blockbuster Box is a good example. Pizza Hut literally said; ‘Hey, we’ve got this new big box, what can you do with it?”



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