Creative industry Leader Interview - 5 minutes with...

Martin Homent

Creative Director, Integer

Martin Homent - Integer

Career to date:

2014, Creative Director, The Integer Group
2012, Creative Director, Tribe Marketing Ltd.
2010, Creative Director, The Lounge Group
2007, Creative Director, Havas People
2004, Creative Director, Bernard Hodes Group
1999, Senior Art Director, Bernard Hodes Group
1998, Graphic Designer, Gardner Quainton

Creativebrief: As Creative Director of Integer, what’s your primary focus day to day and companywide?

Martin Homent: My role is about inspiring the whole agency. We are a creative agency [but] creativity isn’t solely for those who have it as their job title. It’s about everybody being involved in the creative product and the creative process.

Day to day, I get quite involved with every client and piece of work that comes through the agency. My job is to shape the work and make sure it’s the best it can be. Obviously, everybody is aiming for great creativity [but] we’re really keen that it always solves a problem for the client.

Our internal mantra at Integer is ‘do great work that works’. We’re not here as artists; it’s commercial creativity. We’re here to help brands sell things.

Creativebrief: Can you outline your career to date, where you started and how you ended up at Integer?

Martin Homent: I’ve got quite a traditional background in advertising, very integrated. I was learning the ropes over the first 10 years of my career. It gave me an opportunity as a creative to understand everything.

After that, I left to go to some smaller agencies to help them start up creative offerings. I was at an agency which focused on digital and experiences for brands called the Lounge Group. We did a lot of work with the likes of Lynx and Axe, Havana Club; we did some interesting stuff with Kellogg’s.

I was in a big place that was quite traditional and integrated. I was quite attracted therefore by something that was a bit small, more nimble, something that really pushed clients to do something new.

In between that and working [at Integer], I was also working with the musician Prince for three years. I designed loads of stuff to accompany his music, albums, a few singles, merchandise, backdrops for his concerts. His last ever concert series was him and a piano and my work behind him. That was the last thing that we did together. Creative wise, I’ve never experienced anything like it in any way shape and form.

And now I’m at Integer which I have been for about three years.

“We are a creative ageny [but] creativity isn't soley for those who have it as their job title. It's about everybody being involved in the creative product and the creative process." 

Creativebrief: What do you think is unique about Integer?

Martin Homent: I’ve always been driven by innovation. Effectively Integer’s a commerce agency, so our ideas are there to drive people along their journey to buying things. We’re clearly connected to the journeys that people take in their day to day life and how that connects with brands.

Integer is full of really smart people that work together. We are closely connected, whether that’s Europe or our offices in the US. Even though we’re a smaller team in London (compared to the US), I have a great relationship with creatives all over the world.

Creativebrief: What do you think has been your agency’s best work over the last year?

Martin Homent: With Sharp’s Brewery, we created a campaign called There’s an Adventure Brewing. It focused on the stories they’re going to make next and involving people in them. The idea of There’s an Adventure Brewing is, that’s what happens when mates are together and there’s beer on the table. That’s when you hatch plans for what are we going to do next?

The adventure for this year was in partnership with Nathan Outlaw, a Michelin starred chef based in Cornwall. We created a Michelin star restaurant open for one night only with enough room for only 12 people. The restaurant had a twist. Not only was it open for one night, it was outdoors, it was on a cliff edge looking out to the Atlantic Ocean and people had to abseil to get there. It was another great adventure that we took people on, that also made more great content for social media.

We want to own the social moments with drinkers rather than making posters or table cards or drip mats. After all, in pubs, people are probably looking at their phone, waiting for their friend.

I’m also excited about our work for Optimum Nutrition. We’re helping them connect with many different athletes who would benefit from their many nutritional products. Our first campaign, The Gold Standard Zone, saw us shoot a series of super slow motion films for Amazon where you feel like you’re in the zone with the athletes. And this is just the beginning.

Creativebrief: Industry wide, what work has excited you most?

Martin Homent: For me, the ‘I wish I did that factor’ is Nike, unsurprisingly. They make everything they do an opportunity for people to connect with them.

For me it’s about connected creativity; they just do it more than anyone else that I’ve seen. Whether that is trying to run the marathon quicker than anyone ever has and turning it into an event, or building a stadium in Singapore with Fly Knit, where they used technology to allow runners to race against themselves.

Creativebrief: What work or agency outside the UK are you inspired by?

Martin Homent: I’ve seen a lot of really interesting work coming out of New Zealand and Australia, which has kind of surprised me to an extent.

The campaign for Qantas where they owned people’s out of office emails. They created a way in which I could put in my Instagram details and choose, by using a certain hashtag what I wanted to share on my out of office email. And then at the click of a button you could look for holidays through Qantas.

There was another great campaign that was done for Sydney Opera House. Loads of people at Sydney Opera House take pictures of the outside; nobody really goes in. They were using the data of people taking the pictures outside and then sending them personalised video messages to say you should come inside, personally inviting them.

I don’t necessarily connect certain places with creativity, but it’s interesting all this work coming through from that side of the world.

“In terms of how we work with clients, we want them to be involved in the process...the agency can be pushing for a new way but if the client isn't on the journey, then it's going to be really hard."

Creativebrief: How do you see the advertising industry evolving over the next few years?

Martin Homent: Lots of people talk about data. But the thing that’s going to matter is what we do with it and how it gets used.

Part of what drives me is the little moments I’ve been talking about, with Qantas and Sydney Opera House. How does that one moment connect to all those other things?

It’s about collaborating more. In terms of how we work with clients, we want them to be involved in the process, working with them not for them. The agency can be pushing for a new way but if the client isn’t on that journey, then it’s going to be really hard to do that.

The other thing in terms of data and tech is that it’s seeming like it has the potential to remove the mundane. We’re finding quite a lot of opportunity in terms of voice control and chatbots. I’m hoping that over the next two to five years, technology will help us all in doing what’s boring, so we can focus on what’s fun, rather than trying to make everything fun.

Creativebrief: What are your ambitions for Integer over the next few years?

Martin Homent: To do all of that before anyone else! The ambition for us is to help clients be more connected in the way that they think. Great ideas, as always, have never lived in one place. What we would like to do more of with clients is to start to join up some of those dots because people don’t think in pockets. For ideas to really connect with people in a strong way, they have to be connected to each other.

The difference is we’ve gone from consumers to humans, and now we’re going from humans to individuals. With technology and understanding people and data, it’s enabling us to be smarter on how we make those connections.

Our ambition is to put people, the journey they go on, at the heart so that we can find the best way for the brand to connect with them in a relevant way.

Creativebrief: Is there this something that particularly excites you at the moment technology wise?

Martin Homent: The idea of automation in terms of using technology to actually do the mundane. The potential of voice in the home is a no brainer for opportunity. The fact that now the devices are actually recognising individual voices for me immediately sparks really interesting opportunities.

Technology is enabling something a bit more human rather than being interruptive.

Creativebrief: You’ve already touched on having to change and adapt with your client but something that we talk about a lot at Creativebrief is the changing nature of the traditional pitch. Do you think that’s changed or it should change?

Martin Homent: My experience in the last three years has been that pitches have been much more collaborative. It’s much more about that relationship with the agency.

They’ve become more than just one meeting and it’s given us the opportunity to run parts of a pitch in a way in which a real job would run, together with the client.

Creativebrief: Outside of the industry who or what are you inspired by?

Martin Homent: What really inspires me is people that do things I can’t. My wife has this amazing ability to connect people and find who should work with who to make magic things happen.

In my spare time I cook, I write, I do music production, I DJ. I love to learn things so part of my working with Prince was really a personal project for me to actually explore my ability to illustrate, design and create because my day to day job doesn’t always allow me to do that. As a creative, you’ve always got to have a passion project.

Topic of the moment

How can brands give customers the tools to express their own identity? What are your thoughts on this? Have you seen brands doing that? Or do you think they shouldn’t?

It is a good idea and there are many different ways of doing it. For Sharp’s, we created a way where people could share their ideas for a seasonal brew and then join them at the brewery to make it. It didn’t just tell a story, but involved people in it and gave them the chance to express themselves. That opportunity for people to engage with brands in two-way communication, rather than just broadcast mode; that to me is the superpower of how technology and creativity can join forces to create involving stories between brands and people.

About the author

Izzy Ashton, Assistant Editor of BITE, Creativebrief

Izzy is a writer/researcher for BITE, Creativebrief’s daily insight into global marketing trends and the cultural movements driving them. She keeps abreast of the latest communication, technology and consumer news, and is responsible for conducting interviews with key agency strategists and creatives to gain insight into the most innovative global campaigns.