When you look back at your life, you see the pieces of puzzle come together - Steve Jobs said at Stanford commencement. In retrospect everything looks simple and straightforward. Often in life we need to make decisions and choices that are life changing and determine our future course of life. The hard choices are the ones when they are between two seemingly equally good ones, or equally bad ones. The more preferable situation is when the choice is between two equally good ones, because whatever the decision, the future holds a promise to be better than the present. The decision making is hard because it has broader life implications and comes with the fear of losing out on the other good option. I have been lucky enough to be in such a situation recently. Having made the decision I now look back and want to pencil the process of making that decision and some learnings from the experience.
Shaun McIlrath is global chief creative officer of Iris worldwide. Recently listed in The Top 10 Most Creative People In Advertising by Business Insider. He began his career as a script writer at the BBC before stints at impactFCA, HHCL, Heresy, VCCP and now Iris where he leads the agency’s creative output from London, winning over 200 industry awards for brands like MINI, Dominos, Adidas, Philips, Wonderbra and a Super Clio for Jeep. Shaun's choices: Lacoste "Life is a beautiful sport" This 2014 campaign was Lacoste’s first TV spot, portraying an epic love story and mesmerising leap of faith into the unknown. The campaign's release was timed to coincide with the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics and New York Fashion Week. Directed by Seb Edwards, the ad brings one of Lacoste’s founding values, "Life is a beautiful sport" to life. Awarded a silver lion at Cannes, it provides an illustration of how performance and elegance can combust in our everyday lives to create something beautiful.
So, you have arranged an idea generation session involving 12 people who come from different parts of the company. It has been a real challenge trying to coordinate diaries. Three people have informed you that they will be half an hour late, two people have said that they need to leave half an hour early. Pre-reading has been sent out, but you know that it is likely to remain unread in people’s inboxes. You have managed to book a somewhat uninspiring space in room 206 on the third floor, and there is no natural light. And what makes your situation even more acute is that you are heavily reliant on the output from the meeting. This will contribute to one of your annual job objectives.
I recently attended and completed the Marketing Leaders Programme (a marketing leadership development course by Brand Learning and The Marketing Society). The programme is a total of six days and they’re split into two lots of three days with about six weeks in between. Splitting the course up this way is a great way to take learnings and tools into the workplace and apply them before regrouping. The course is focused on equal parts marketing (fundamentals, trends and best practices) and leadership (energy, style, values, purpose). The format was a good mix of presentation and interactive sessions. There were a total of 12 attendees on the flight I attended and we were grouped into smaller working groups of 2-3 and had the opportunity to really get to know about each other’s career and leadership journey.
I look at #metoo, I look at #TimesUp, and I think wow, we haven’t come very far. There’s been a lot of books, there’s been a lot of success stories, but the power and gender imbalance underpinning society has an awfully long way to go. But at least that’s clear now. Brands and marketers have committed some serious atrocities against women (and men for that matter). If we look at the recent past alone; Audi China’s infamous mother-in-law tripe, which compared women to used cars. In addition, who could forget Belvedere’s ghastly ‘unlike some people, Belvedere always goes down smoothly’ from 2012. Simply rank.