Interviews

Anna Carpen, Creative Partner, And Rising

"We are the first B-corporation advertising agency in the UK which means we are here to benefit the community and all stakeholders. This is important because fresh talent coming out into the world want to work at a company with values at its heart."

Izzy Ashton

Assistant Editor of BITE

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Creativebrief: Please could you outline your career to date, talking us through anything of particular interest or that you’d like to highlight?
Anna Carpen: My career started as receptionist at a small agency in my hometown of Cambridge. I knew nothing about advertising and started by literally making the teas and coffees. During that time, I applied to the Watford ad school, a life changing year which helped me gain the bare bones knowledge of what makes a great idea. I saw that And Rising, then 18 Feet & Rising, had set up and I was in the door on placement within days of it opening. The rise to Creative Partner was fast, within six years of being hired on placement. But from the get-go, I was working on big TV ads for the likes of Freeview, Nationwide and numerous Christmas campaigns for House of Fraser.
Creativebrief: As Creative Partner at And Rising, what is your primary focus?
Anna Carpen: My main focus is making sure that the ideas and the work is the very best it can be. That we get the best people on board to make our work real. That our clients are being listened to and brought on that journey too. Many of our clients are brand new to the market, maybe even only a few years old. How we communicate these brands and products to an unfamiliar audience is so important. People at home are bored of advertising. I love work that makes them laugh, cry or sparks a conversation.

We are the first B-corporation advertising agency in the UK which means we are here to benefit the community and all stakeholders. This is important because fresh talent coming out into the world want to work at a company with values at its heart.

Anna Carpen
Creativebrief: What's unique about your agency? Why did you join And Rising?
Anna Carpen: We have lots of things that make us unique. We are the first B-corporation advertising agency in the UK which means we are here to benefit the community and all stakeholders. This is important because fresh talent coming out into the world want to work at a company with values at its heart. We are named ‘And Rising’ because we are here to help brands scale up. Whether they are a food brand, a tech brand or a brand that’s been around a while but need to grow, fast. And then the third thing which is rare is my role: Creative Partner. I am female, mixed race, and on the younger side. Most creative agencies default to white, middle class, middle-aged to lead. In this environment And Rising always bring different thinking to the table.
Creativebrief: What has been your agency's best work in the last year?
Anna Carpen: Our latest spot for BeGambleaware.org is something I am very proud of. Billions of advertising money goes into promoting gambling companies. My creative department have been working on this for months with lots of hurdles to overcome. My hope is that this gets a national conversation going around gambling, the hidden addiction that not many people talk about.
Creativebrief: Industry wide, what work has excited you most this year?
Anna Carpen: Nike ‘Nothing Beats a Londoner’ was fantastic. I loved that they did not shy away from the urban audience this was targeting. I think the challenge is if you aren’t an established brand with millions of pounds for your advertising budget, how do you cut through? All you can do is trust in the power of creativity and create an idea that is going to capture people’s imagination.

The challenge is if you aren’t an established brand with millions of pounds for your advertising budget, how do you cut through? All you can do is trust in the power of creativity and create an idea that is going to capture people’s imagination.

Anna Carpen
Creativebrief: What work or agency from outside the UK do you think is particularly influential?
Anna Carpen: Goodby, Silverstein & Partners in the USA has always made amazing work. But I love their campaign for a ‘Device Free Dinner’. I see young kids zombie out by their phones in restaurants so I can’t imagine what dinner times at home must be like. Getting families talking to each other around the dinner table can only do good things for humanity.
Creativebrief: How do you see the advertising industry evolving over the next few years?
Anna Carpen: I’m excited about the next few years because whilst we’ve ridden out some sort of earthquake over the last few years, it feels like in the next few years it’s going to settle. Clients are going to start placing more value on a great idea. They’ll stop buying ad space where their brands end up next to extremist propaganda. The dinosaur brands that are stuck in the mud, stuck in old ways, will eventually sink. New and exciting products are being created as we speak. It’s so exciting.
Creativebrief: What are your ambitions for And Rising over the next few years?
Anna Carpen: It’s important to me that the work we make is work we can all be proud of. Not only because it resonated with an audience at home, but because it helped grow a business. The better the work, the more fun we’ll have making it. The more fun we have, the better the work.
Creativebrief: Personally, who or what are you inspired by, outside of the industry?
Anna Carpen: I saw the new trailer for Toy Story 4 yesterday and it reminded me how great Pixar are at telling their stories. A true inspiration for anyone who wants to make a mark on this world.
Creativebrief: Finally we like to focus on a trend. Customers want to know more about the social, economic and environmental impact of brands. How do you evaluate each of these in the brands you choose to work with?
Anna Carpen: The brands we work with tend to be fast growing scaleups and challenger brands, they exist because they have a new and better idea. We find that this typically goes hand in hand with positive impact. We nearly always work with founder-led brands. Their own story is important to why the brand exists and the problem their product is addressing. Regardless of size, where there is accountability at this level, we find more importance is placed on the social, economic and environmental impact of the brand and innovating in this area. We’re also the first UK certified B Corporation creative agency, set up for the benefit of all stakeholders, not just shareholders. This has a huge impact on the clients we work with and informs the relationship we build together. Our business meets the highest standards of social and environmental performance, transparency and accountability to balance profit and purpose.

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