Interviews

Laura Jordan Bambach

Creative Partner, Mr President

Creativebrief

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Career to date:

2013 - Mr President (Creative Partner)
2013 - D&AD (President)
2012 - Dare (Creative Director)
2012 - D&AD (Vice President)
2008 - LBi (Executive Creative Director)
2007 - SheSays (Founder)
2005 - Glue London (Head of Art)
2003 - I-D Media London (Head of Design)
2001 - Lateral (Senior Designer)
1999 - Deepend (Designer)

 

 

Creativebrief: As founder of SheSays and creative partner at Mr President what is your primary focus?

Laura Jordan Bambach: SheSays is a global organisation now, but is still a volunteer network. We’ve grown through keeping a team of women in every city who run different aspects of the organisation, such as events and email lists. They have lots of support and guidance but ultimate freedom. A bit like a franchise model, but there’s no money involved. In London we have a whole team of amazing women looking after the day-to-day running of things, and I focus on bigger more strategic and global projects. So Mr President is definitely my focus.

Having said that, this year the D&AD Presidency has taken up quite a bit of my time. But work is so fluid now with technology, I’m always able to cover things off.

Creativebrief: Please share a para on your career to date – specifically talking us through the high points.

Laura Jordan Bambach: The high points? My career has been wonderfully eclectic and I’ve had the fortune to have worked at some of the best agencies of their time. Working for Deepend was incredible – I think everyone at the agency was under the age of 26, give or take, and the quality of work expected (and the briefs) were top. Lateral was another agency (actually, more of a rock band than an agency) where I learned about how to balance the business and the experimental. Glue was equally brilliant. I learned about running a business and keeping culture and ethics at the heart of an agency. LBi taught me the true breadth of what you can deliver on the largest possible scale and introduced me to real business process knowledge that has become invaluable at Mr President. Dare the same.

But the real highlights are two-fold. Firstly the work I’ve done within the industry on diversity and representation through geekgirl, SheSays and CANNT Festival. The rewards for that have been seeing young women getting jobs and move up the agency hierarchy with a certain fierceness. Secondly of course it’s running my own business with Mr President, and putting all the great stuff I’ve learned into practice on our own terms.

It’s been great to be recognised for it too – through my D&AD Presidency, and very recently though my Honorary Doctorate from NUA.

Creativebrief: What’s unique about your agency / business? Why did you form SheSays?

Laura Jordan Bambach: Ale Lariu and I formed SheSays because we just weren’t seeing any female CVs at our agencies at the time (Glue and Agency Republic). We committed ourselves to changing the situation rather than just talking about it. It’s doing amazingly well. It’s spread across over twenty cities, fifteen countries and counting. They are all run by amazing volunteers who are doing it for the same reasons as us – to help create a more diverse workforce in advertising and marketing.

Mr President is pretty unique too – the three of us (Claire Hynes, Nick Emmel and myself) have all been leaders at other agencies. Everything from our internal structure and our attitude to process, to the ambition of the clients we choose to work with is against the grain of the normal agency way of doing things.

"I’m a voracious reader of blogs and email newsletters and really use Twitter for following what other people are up to"

 

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

Laura Jordan Bambach: Oh wow! Mr President is so new that we are all quite fresh to each other – a team of the best people that have been brought in by someone here, or the best we can find externally. So I’d have to say we have a bit of a crack team and there are loads of impressive folk.

Outside of Mr President, I’ve met some wonderful people around the world such as Rajesh and Chaitanya from Kyoorius in Mumbai. They have just partnered with D&AD to set up New Blood in India.

Rice Creative in Vietnam are also amazing, they are a small studio with the most beautiful graphic design work I’ve seen in some time.

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

Laura Jordan Bambach: We have had a great year for work. Our Bacardi Bat Beats and Uber Libre projects were my favourites, but we’ve also worked intensely on the Williams Martini Racing partnership – both on the partnership itself, and what Martini’s strategic role is. We also have some great new pieces such as our Greenpeace work for Save the Tiger Day, and the ads for Morph Costumes that went live in August. Our first piece of work for Nike has also just gone live. 

 

Creativebrief: Who or what inspires you?​​​

Laura Jordan Bambach: Music, fantastic conversation and new people, adventures, experiments, art, films, ideas and arguments…

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

Laura Jordan Bambach: I’m a voracious reader of blogs and email newsletters and use Twitter for following what other people are up to. I also use peer groups such as Creative Social to share new ideas and things under wraps. Teaching helps to keep me up-to-date and the work I do with

Hyper Island, SCA and NUA in particular, feeds my brain with things I wouldn’t have otherwise seen.

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

Laura Jordan Bambach: I love The Bank Job for the Brothers in Arms charity by DraftFCB NZ.

What amazes me is the incredible leap in creativity it takes to get from what would have been a pretty difficult brief (getting in front of CFOs for corporate funding) into something this eclectic.

 

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

Laura Jordan Bambach: It feels like we are at the cusp of something really exciting. There are great agencies out there at the moment and there is so much interesting work being created. I think we’ll start to see really powerful creative work from BRICs agencies hitting the global scene in a major way over the next year or two. We will get to see their different viewpoints and a different experience of what creativity means.

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

Laura Jordan Bambach: I’m digging all the little agencies at the moment – the Sid Lees, Creatures and 72andSunnys of the world. I’d count Wiedens in that group as well. It feels that in an industry where the little independents are few and far between, we can move quicker and be more adventurous. The main challenge for us will be to keep our strategic foot in the door. For everyone else it’s going to be the ability to keep up with the pace of change.

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

Laura Jordan Bambach: An even bigger more wonderful world to explore and add ideas to.

"There is too much advertising pollution out there – low value bumf that clutters everyone’s lives and algorithms that feed you more of the same until it becomes wallpaper"

 

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

Laura Jordan Bambach: Traditional pitches are fine for big or retained pieces of work, but they are expensive and more than that SLOW. I’ve worked in interesting ways with clients such as Metro a few years ago, who appointed us through a workshop process. I’d like the industry to be more adventurous with how we partner up with clients, but it feels like it will be a long process to get there, as experimentation is seen as so risky client side.

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

Laura Jordan Bambach: The Morph Costumes pitch was pretty good fun.

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

Laura Jordan Bambach: There is too much advertising pollution out there – low value bumf that clutters everyone’s lives and algorithms that feed you more of the same until it becomes wallpaper.

We need to change tack or we won’t attract wonderful people into our industry anymore – the magic is fading. We are all creative people and we can use our talents to make work that really matters, whether that’s touching someone’s heart or creating something for social good.

So less of doing the stuff we all know is bad, and a more consistent effort at the harder path – making work that really leaves a legacy.

Creativebrief: What’s the next big thing for SheSays and Mr President?

Laura Jordan Bambach: For SheSays, it’s expanding into new cities and creating a stronger network between cities. The SheSays Awards are going properly global in 2015 too.

For Mr President, it’s more great work that leaves a legacy for our clients, and kicking against the pricks.