Exclusive interview with The Hijinks Collective: Marc Allenby, Tamryn Kerr and Alicia Iveson

Exclusive interview with The Hijinks Collective: Marc Allenby, Tamryn Kerr and Alicia Iveson

Hijinks has been dreaming of a new way of working.

Marc Allenby (ex-VCCP Group), Tamryn Kerr (ex-YouTube) and Alicia Iveson (ex-Saatchi & Saatchi) recently launched The Hijinks Collective; the self-proclaimed 'new kids on the block' that know this 'creative' block inside and out. 

With the best part of 50 years experience combined, the Hijinks team brings their mantra, 'positivity through creativity', to the creative industry, alongside new work that launched 18th November.

Creative Moment's editor Lucy Smith caught up with this trio to find out what made them take the leap from corporate security to the ultimate creative freedom, the challenges they faced, and how they plan to do things differently.

Lucy Smith (LS): Why did you decide to leave the safety of the corporate world and take the plunge to launch your own creative shop?

The Hijinks Collective (THC): Creating Hijinks has given us the chance to build an agency we truly believe in—a better way of working is the dream.

LS: Did you have a few clients lined up when you started?

THC: The Collective is already working with YouTube, The Royal Navy, Kingfisher Plc, and Creative Equals.

LS: Tell us a bit about your individual backgrounds and how you met?

THC: The Hijinks team reunites several former colleagues; Tamryn, Marc and Alicia. Alicia Iveson was most recently managing partner at Saatchi & Saatchi and has also worked at Joint and Ogilvy. Alicia had previously worked at Joint with Tamryn, a globally awarded creative who has led teams in agencies and most recently inside YouTube’s Creative Studio as creative lead for YouTube EMEA.

Marc and Tamryn are former colleagues at Publicis London. Prior to Hijinks, Marc was an executive creative director and board member within The VCCP Group and has collaborated with everyone from music artists to farmers to tech specialists including Meta, Square, Cisco and Yoox Net-a-Porter.

LS: What was the key driver behind starting your own agency, and what have you found the most challenging aspect to be so far?

THC: Our agency philosophy is “positivity through creativity” and is built around the belief that advertising should be fun. And let’s face it, the world needs more positivity right now. Positivity is living and breathing in everything that we do; in the way that we work together, in our client partnerships, and in the work that we put out in the world. Hijinks may be the new kids on the block, but we know this block inside and out.

LS: What has been your biggest fear stepping out on your own?

THC: The industry is rife with established players, even within start-ups - can we really play with these agency giants? Fortunately, our founding client relationships have proven just that. Yes, we can.

LS: What was the most important thing you wanted to achieve with Hijinks?

THC: The Hijinks Collective exists to make brands relevant within the communities and audiences they want to attract, creating culture, not campaigns. The Collective will focus strongly on co-creation, forming what it calls “creative bubbles” with its clients to work together as one team with the aim of building a more inclusive workplace that also incorporates production.

LS: What is the main benefit of running your own agency?

THC: Building a new breed of agency as two women and one gay man gives us the opportunity to think and do things differently.

LS: Can you tell us about some of the work you've been doing?

THC: We can’t be specific, but, we can’t wait to show the world how we work and what we can do.

LS: What do you want Hijinks to stand for within the industry?

THC: Positivity through creativity.

Who are Hijinks?

Tamryn Kerr (she/her): Co-founder & chief creative officer

An avid storyteller, Tamryn has created campaigns that shift perceptions and change behaviours.

Tamryn is a globally awarded creative who has led teams in agencies and most recently inside YouTube’s Creative Studio as Creative Lead for YouTube EMEA (via YunoJuno). Prior to YouTube Tamryn worked for top agencies including Colenso BBDO, BBH London, VMLY&R London, Joint (where she met Alicia) and Publicis London (where she met Marc). A truly integrated creative, she's made work in every medium imaginable and even created a few new ones. Tamryn has been named a WACL Future Leader, in The Dots ‘Women Redefining the Creative Industry’, a Pitch Magazine Top 100 Superwoman, and a Creative Pool Top Industry Leader.

Career highlights include launching a challenger telco that is now the market leader, creating campaigns that help stop young guys from drinking and driving, printing Mary Ann Evans' (George Eliot's) name on her work for the first time in history, and reinventing the little blue pill as being for love, not just for sex.

Fun fact: Tamryn was the shortest hockey goalie in the NZ national league’s history.

Marc Allenby (he/him): Co-founder & chief creative officer

Proudly gay, Marc has always driven the diversity narrative forward through creativity.

Marc has led change for some of the world's best-loved brands across all channels and mediums; from TV to digital, social to PR at some of the best creative agencies, including Publicis London where he met Tamryn. Before Hijinks, Marc was an ECD and board member within The VCCP Group making forward-thinking work and has collaborated with everyone from music artists to farmers to tech specialists including Meta, Square, Cisco, and Yoox Net-a-Porter. 

Career highlights include putting microchips on bees to collect planet-saving data, a series of TV ads showing differently shaped families for Renault (years before that was even a thing), and helping McDonalds define 'I'm lovin it' in a global brand refresh. Marc also guest lectures at Leeds Arts University.

Fun fact: Broke his neck at 23, was Robbie Williams' tech creative director (when Robbie was cool), and rides a motorbike.

Alicia Iveson (she/her): Co-founder & CEO

A modern business leader, Alicia loves partnering with clients to transform their businesses.

From media to creative tech to brand and advertising, she’s led teams in agencies big and small and most recently helped reboot Saatchi & Saatchi under Chris Kay’s leadership. Multi-award winning, having worked with a powerful combination of global household brands and D2C start-ups, Alicia brings an outcome-driven approach to all her client partnerships. She and Tamryn met at start-up agency Joint, working together on their biggest clients such as Amazon, TSB, and Vue Cinemas.

Career highlights include a world-first flight tracker on the biggest billboard in Piccadilly Circus for British Airways and pressuring the government into releasing an extra £4b funding for childcare with Pregnant then Screwed.

Fun fact: Alicia is trilingual and could ride a pony before she could walk.

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