GUEST: LEIGH DEBBAGE
TITLE: CREATIVE DIRECTOR
This week I'm thrilled to be catching up with Leigh Debbage as part of our 'Creativity Matters' series of podcasts.
Leigh Debbage is creative director at Premier, London’s largest entertainment, arts and culture agency. Leigh joined Premier eight years ago and founded the agency’s stunts and experiential division in 2014, where projects have included turning the BT Tower into the world’s largest lightsabre for Star Wars and creating a fifth lion statue in Trafalgar Square from clock parts for National Geographic’s Big Cat Week.
[00:00:48] Lee defines how he sees the role of a creative director
[00:01:57] Why there is a more nuanced perspective on creativity in the entertainment sector
[00:02:16] Why there has been a creativity explosion in Britain and beyond in the entertainment industry
[00:02:47] Whether Leigh sees himself as a creative director of a PR firm or an experiential firm
[00:04:03] Whether there is a tension within the creative director role. Should you be a creative facilitator or a creative Yoda?
[00:05:16] Leigh argues that great creativity doesn't always need to be unique
[00:05:39] Why almost every idea is actually a combination of other ideas that have gone before
[00:06:05] How Leigh has 'gamified' the creative process
[00:07:49] What type of research works at the start of the creative process
[00:09:17] Why surprising the media is an important element of creativity in PR
[00:11:20] Why creative sessions 'in the bathroom' and 'walking the dog' often come as the last stage of the creative process
[00:11:38] How creativity can become a more defined process
[00:13:26] Why you need to take the client to an awkward place and then sometimes bring it back a little bit to get the right idea for them
[00:15:01] The importance of positivity in creativity
[00:16:23] Why the creativity of the entertainment sector has held back the creativity of its marketing and promotion
[00:17:36] Why Premier are often pitching not against other agencies, but against other budgets
[00:18:18] The rise of experiential marketing
[00:19:19] Why the rise of experiential has been accelerated because journalists realised that they couldn't write about stuff the public couldn't do
[00:24:21] Why the competition between the streaming services and the investment in drama, film talent and film production has meant rapid growth in the entertainment sector
[00:25:16] Why filmmakers are starting to be less protective of their brands
[00:27:05] When does Leigh believe creativity is not really necessary?
[00:29:46] Does the work of a publicist require less creative thinking than PR and the more integrated campaigns?
[00:31:36] How a client's need for integrated thinking has seen a larger variety in the way briefs can be interpreted
[00:33:41] Why Premier film every stunt and every experience they do
[00:34:11] As agencies bring services in-house, is there a tension between giving clients an integrated offer and potentially creating an unnecessary shopping list?
[00:36:08] Why having an in-house video production team often feeds the ideas Premier come up with
[00:37:40] Where the most useful insight for creative ideas comes from
Thanks for listening.