Q&A with Guy Vickerstaff
With over 23 years’ agency experience gained both in Sydney and Edinburgh, Guy is one of Scotland’s highest profile advertising creatives.
As creative director of the The&Partnership and the RBS Group’s newly established in-house agency, Guy is responsible for a vast range of creative comms for NatWest, Royal Bank, Ulster Bank, Coutts, Holts and Lombard. Prior to his role at Gogarburn, he spent five years as creative director at Story, seven years at The Leith Agency, five years at The Union, and he’s run his own agency having started his career in Sydney.
He’s worked on a huge range of brands including M&S Bank, Standard Life, VisitScotland, Baxter’s, Irn Bru, Grolsch, Coors and the Scottish Government.
Guy has been responsible for some of Scotland’s most memorable advertising campaigns, including Detect Breast Cancer Early with Elaine C Smith and the s1Jobs launch. The ‘Ice Cream Van’ for s1jobs was voted Scotland’s favourite TV ad by readers of the Daily Record which provides a proud career highlight.
The&Partnership is a collaborative new agency model built by The&Partnership and Royal Bank of Scotland group. How did this union come about?
RBS Group saw the value in streamlining their significant number of agency relationships. Not only in terms of speed and cost but also in terms of consistency of creative output. Jonny Hornby’s The&Partnership model provided a proven solution at scale. Having created embedded agencies already in News International and Toyota, the model can be seen working and proving successful.
You’ve been heavily involved in creative agencies for many years and have developed a fantastic rapport with your peers. What’s the key to your success?
Humour. I’ve always tried to have a laugh along the way! Although I take the work very seriously, I try not to take myself too seriously. It also means you don’t have to be right 100% of the time.
You’ve become a trusted mentor to students and colleagues alike. What do you like so much about being a mentor?
As a professional problem-solver I love nothing more than that 'eureka!' moment. It’s a break through, it’s when a problem dissolves away. I love helping a student have those break throughs. Whether it’s about ‘creative block’, self-confidence or knowing how to break a problem down, that moment when you see it in their eyes is gold.
What are your favourite type of clients to work for?
I love working with enthusiastic clients. Clients who are enthusiastic about their brand, about the creative opportunities in every brief, about being surprised. They're so rewarding to work with. You feel like you’re on the journey together, that sense that you’re creating something special together.
Thinking about all the incredible briefs that have crossed your desk over the years, what’s been the one that excited you most?
A number of years ago I was working on the Health Promotion Agency for Northern Ireland. A brief landed on my desk to promote a service called Lifeline. Statistics showed that since the end of ‘The Troubles’, male suicide rates were noticeably rising. The opportunity to communicate with and make a significant difference to someone in crisis was hugely motivating.
What keeps you inspired?
My colleagues. I know that sounds a bit corny but with a creative department of 18 working furiously on a huge number of projects, they are always surprising and inspiring me. Working with great planners and sparky account people keeps me on my toes and more importantly, keeps me laughing.