'Creativity Matters' Podcast: Shaun McIlrath, Global Chief Creative Officer, Iris Worldwide

‘Creativity Matters’





This week I’m pleased to be catching up with Shaun McIlrath, Global Chief Creative Officer at Iris Worldwide on the Creative Moment Podcast where we talk about creativity and Shaun’s perspective on it.

Shaun has been at Iris for almost 12 years, before that he was at VCCP and Heresy which he founded in 2002.

Iris describes itself as a global creative problem solving agency and it has revenues north of £100m, offices in 14 locations around the globe and is part of the Cheil network.

Here’s a summary of what Shaun and I discuss:

[00:01:02] Why Shaun believes that the natural order of advertising agencies is currently “to create the ordinary.”

[00:01:32] Why creative firms need to concentrate on how they go about making exceptional work and how they make it more often.

[00:02:41] Why Shaun believes we're in a period of creative transition.

[00:03:29] Why some of the most interesting creative work will never be seen.

[00:04:26] Is advertising in its current form addressing consumer needs?

[00:04:47] How interruptive advertising has become an anathema to a generation that's grown up on demand content.

[00:05:51] Why today's marketers need to ask "is your company engaging with consumers in a more creative way than your competitors?"

[00:06:15] In the modern media environment what are the best ways for companies to creatively engage with their consumers?

[00:07:15] Why companies need to think about creativity other than just in their marketing campaigns.

[00:08:33] Why great companies are marketing companies.

[00:09:11] Why advertising is a gate-crasher of the party: You either have to tell a joke or bring a bottle.

[00:13:37] Why creativity thrives in adversity.

[00:14:21] Why the worst marketing comes from a place of complacency.

[00:16:52] Why businesses going through difficult times tend to create better, more creative campaigns.

[00:19:51] Why the best creative work "feels more like culture than marketing."

[00:19:58] Why participation marketing and creating shareable content explodes your media budget exponentially.

[00:20:39] Why the best campaigns have no rear view mirror.

[00:23:40] Why creatives need puppy-like enthusiasm and a very short memory.

[00:23:51] Why the best creatives are natural optimists - you've got to believe that there is a better way of doing something.

[00:25:00] Why the four stages of a creatives' career can be compared to the members of The Beatles.

[00:27:58] Can ads remain timeless or are they only great in the culture that they existed?

[00:28:48] Why Shaun believes the current adversity within advertising will mean that it will thrive again.

[00:30:45] How the creatives of today have different skills and personalities to their predecessors.

[00:31:43 ] And is that what makes good creative today?

[00:32:32] The more diverse the creative team is, the more interesting the output becomes.

[00:32:53] Why creativity is an incredibly meritocratic business.

[00:34:22] What do clients want from their creativity?

[00:36:53] How great advertising taps into people's basic emotions.

[00:37:33] Does the amount of humour in adverts currently reflect the bleak times we're living through?

[00:39:32] Shaun believes the ability to stay close to the consumer is what "keeps great companies alive."

[00:39:46] What is Shaun's creative process?

[00:42:10] Are marketing directors good at buying creativity?

[00:44:38] Shaun was born in Northern Ireland into a Protestant family in Belfast and his parents gave him a Catholic name. Shaun talks about how this affected his childhood and how this time as an outsider influenced his career in creativity.

[00:48:01] Shaun explains why the paramilitary artwork in Northern Ireland is about identity, branding and belonging.

[00:49:51] Shaun talks us through a couple of examples of his favourite campaigns.

[00:52:07] Why great advertising should make you feel uncomfortable.

[00:52:21] Why advertising is one of the few businesses where you can get it 100 percent right and get it totally wrong.

[00:53:35] Why creativity is the last unfair advantage that other corporations have.