Interviews

Andy Bellass

Partner and CSO of Splendid

Creativebrief

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Career to date:

1992 - WCRS (Media Planner) 
1995 - GGT Creative Planner (Board Planner) 
1997 - TBWA Board (Planner Director) 
1998 - Mother (Strategy Director) 
2006 - Splendid (Strategic Partner)

 

Creativebrief: As Partner and CSO at Splendid what is your primary focus?

Andy Bellass: To make sure we do brilliant work that works.

Creativebrief: What’s unique about your agency / business? Why did you join Splendid?

Andy Bellass: We live in the real world; I joined Splendid because I wanted to produce work that physically engaged people rather than work that vainly hoped to interrupt their lives.

Creativebrief: Who are the people new to you (either within your business or externally) who have particularly impressed you in the last twelve months?​​​

Andy Bellass: There seems to be a really hungry generation of modern, creative thinkers coming through, born in the age of social media. Essentially, they have built their own personal brands so when it comes to working with big brand clients they have a more holistic view. Similarly, great clients are coming through whose own start point is not necessarily advertising.

"I joined Splendid because I wanted to produce work that physically engaged people rather than work that vainly hoped to interrupt their lives"

 

Creativebrief: What has been your agency’s best work in the last year?​​​​​

Andy Bellass: Not any one thing but I am continually amazed and inspired by the strategic yet nimble way in which we create content on a daily basis; this could be anything from an image of a Marmite jar dressed as a Dalek exterminating a Vegemite jar for Dr Who’s 50th Birthday, or a Pot Noodle that has beaten up a packet of Super Noodle, all of which generates an astonishing amount of engagement.

On a campaign level, recently our ‘End Marmite Neglect’ work has been shortlisted for various awards showcasing our strategic integrated communications approach. We essentially turned an ad campaign into an idea that lived and breathed in all channels relevant in the real word.

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

Andy Bellass: The work I always love seeing is when young businesses shape their brands in a truly creative way, and from within. Being a keen cyclist, I particularly love brands such as Dosnoventa. They have gone from a business that just produced frames to a brand that produces frames, clothing, much more and amazing content.

Dosnoventa cycling brand, dosnoventa.tumblr.com
 

Creativebrief: Who or what inspires you?​​​

Andy Bellass: The young technology generation who are unencumbered by traditional constraints and have the ability to see huge opportunity in often established sectors, finding new ways to realise them. For example, Instagram inspired a whole new generation into taking pictures while coders at JustGiving use technology to understand and revolutionise the act of ‘giving.’

"I feed off people far younger and more connected than I am"

 

Creativebrief: How do you stay in-touch with the industry’s best work and culturally relevant news?

Andy Bellass: Every week, we as an agency, come together to share creative work, culturally relevant news, trending topics on the internet and quite often, cats. This is known as “Splendid Loves” and I love hearing what the team nominated as the best that week. Also, I feed off people far younger and more connected than I am.

Creativebrief: What work or agency from outside the UK do you think is particularly influential?​​

Andy Bellass: Mistress Creative in LA. Anybody who can create a life-size loop the loop for Hot Wheels is a favourite of mine.

Life-size Hot Wheels, Adweek
 

Creativebrief: What do you think are going to be the main challenges for agencies in the next 2 years?

Andy Bellass: The main challenges will be realising that the most effective communication comes from within a brand or product. Clients will look more to developers than they will to agencies for how to effectively engage consumers. Unless agencies understand how they can play a role in that new relationship they will struggle.

Creativebrief: How do you see the media landscape unfolding in the next 5 years?

Andy Bellass: I don’t think it will ‘unfold’ but everything will revolve around the thing at the end of everybody’s hand, their phone. Everything, even more than now, will revolve around the mobile.

Creativebrief: What’s your attitude to the ‘traditional’ pitch? Do you think there is a better/more modern way?

Andy Bellass: People ultimately buy people. Our best win come from having already built a relationship with the client which creates an inherent desire to work together. So, the client needs to decide on the best process for them to find the people with whom they will work best. In my opinion, this isn’t usually a high pressured, 90 minute agency “sell by any means-necessary” session.

If I was a client looking for an agency I would find three agencies that I respected and knew did great work and I would spend a day working with them. I would offer no pre-brief and I would turn up at 9am with a problem and see who could get me a solution at 6pm in the most fun and inspirational way. I would of course use a great company like Creative Brief to help filter who those three great agencies are!

Creativebrief: What’s the best pitch you’ve been involved in?

Andy Bellass: The best pitch I’ve been involved with was when we pitched, and won, Linkedin. They pretty much did what I just explained, although they did actually give us a brief beforehand…just a nice open one.

Creativebrief: In what ways do you think the industry can change for the better?

Andy Bellass: For me, I would gracefully retire all the big agency anachronists who believe that the world revolves around them and their anachronistic ideas and who fail to understand the modern, collaborative world that we live in.

Creativebrief: What’s the next big thing for Splendid?

Andy Bellass: More strings to our integrated bow. This year off the back of becoming the Jack Daniel’s lead communications agency we have developed our design studio and through the line capabilities. 

Topic of the moment

What are your thoughts on marketing being a form of entertainment?

Ha. This reminds me when I wrote my first creative guidelines, I wrote ‘entertaining’ and the panel I presented to asked, “So you don’t want us to make a boring ad then?” I think the interesting question is what platforms do brands need to grow in order to become part of their consumers’ worlds?