In this week’s edition of ’10 minutes with’, Zenith’s Alicia Fowler tells Newsworks about how Nike inspired her to enter the advertising industry, the power of impactful campaigns to raise awareness and destigmatise taboos and which backstage pass she’d wangle if she were a journalist for a day…
How did you get into the advertising industry?
Like most grads — especially when you study English literature — I really wasn’t sure what I wanted to do when I left uni. As a lifelong Nike fan, I’d always been interested in their no-holds-barred approach to advertising, but the impact of their Colin Kaepernick ad really inspired me to pursue a career in the industry.
What is your proudest career highlight?
Hiring a great team and watching them find their own voices.
What ad campaign or person do you admire most? (Other than your own campaigns!)
The feminine hygiene space produces some great communications and it’s great that advertising is helping to destigmatise this topic. Replens, in particular, is nailing this; last year they launched a great OOH ad celebrating sex and sexuality among older people.
Best piece of advice you’ve received?
Be nice — to everyone!
Why does advertising matter?
Great advertising holds a mirror up to society, so it’s crucial that it’s reflective of society’s most important issues.
What’s your favourite ad campaign featured in news brands?
On International Women’s Day, Scottish Widows ran a great cover wrap drawing attention to the fact that on average women retire with half the pension of their male counterparts. To bring this to life, they literally cut half the ad off the pages – a simple, literal (but impactful) expression of a relatively complex message.
How does journalism matter to you?
In the wake of the Ukraine crisis, quality news and reporting have never been so important. The spread of misinformation online can be particularly harmful, so it’s doubly important to have universal access to objective, credible sources.
Who or what is your biggest inspiration?
Rei Kawakubo from Comme des Garcons. She’s an icon. And my mum, obviously.
You’re a journalist for a day: what would you cover?
I would love to get backstage at Tokyo Fashion Week, just to see what the creative process is like.
Who are your fantasy dinner party guests?
Hunter S Thompson, Bernard Sumner from New Order and Donna Tartt.
How do you switch off from work?
Reading is my favourite activity for downtime, though I don’t make enough time for it as I should.
If you weren’t in the advertising industry, you would be…?
An architect, definitely. It’s The Sims, but real life…
Gym or gin?
Both! You can’t beat a pint after a half marathon.