Q&A with Mark Gorman

Mark describes himself as a 'Marketing Chameleon' and more formally as Head of Thinking at independent marketing and business consultancy, Think Hard.

He has over 30 years of experience in advertising (having formed his own 50-strong 1576 Advertising in the mid 90’s) design, digital and direct marketing, PR and research. He's also a keen photographer, blogger and Chair of Creative Edinburgh, giving him a broad view of the creative industries.

He is an ex-chair of the Institute of Practitioners in Advertising in Scotland, and an active mobiliser of opinion through his Chairmanship of NABS, The Marketing Society, the Scottish Marketing Association and the SMC Action Group. Barely a year has passed in the last thirty when Mark could not be seen purposefully advocating the value of creativity to the economy of his beloved home city of Edinburgh.

We caught up with Mark ahead of his appearance at The Badger Debate at Amplify 2018.


Hey Mark, what were you like as a kid?

I was rubbish. Specky, skinny at first and then a bit fat and rubbish at football. A bit of a nerd too.

We’re you always encouraged to follow your creative instincts?

Yes, I was a singer and an actor as a boy. I was in the Scottish Opera once! I was also a choirboy and then a youth theatre performer. My dad was a thespian and we did a lot of theatre together, I inherited his ability to act extraordinarily badly! My parents bought me an SLR camera for my 18th so that's where my love for photography comes from.

Your career has successfully spanned a variety of industries, from digital marketing to photography and blogging. What achievement are you most proud of?

Out of everything, feeding my children and paying for my house has to be the best feeling in the world.

What’s been the hardest lesson you’ve learnt from your time in the industry?

Probably learning that not everyone values creativity. Good enough isn’t good enough and as an inherent risk taker I can’t abide the safety first approach that eschews real creativity.

You’re really hands-on in the creative scene in Scotland. How valuable has being an active member of the community been for you?

To be honest with you, it's in my DNA. My heart and my soul. It means everything to me and is so rewarding to be a part of something epic!

You’ve got 20+ years in pitching and call yourself ‘The Pitch Doctor’. Go on, give us your top tips…

Take risks. Don’t be boring. As Nirvana said “Entertain us.”

If you could look back at your career and remake one of your biggest decisions, what would it be? ne regrette rien.

Catch up with Mark as himself and Keli Mithell take on Lisl Macdonald and David Roberts in The Badger Debate at this year's Amplify Festival.