In this week’s edition of 10 minutes with, Spark Foundry’s Emily Craig discusses letting go of mistakes, the exact moment she knows when holidays are coming and what makes the All Together “Stay at home” Covid cover wraps her favourite news brand ad campaign…
How did you get into the advertising industry?
My degree was in politics and so I didn’t initially ever plan to go into advertising. However, after leaving university, I felt that going into politics was not a career I wanted to pursue at the time.
I wanted to work in an industry that was dynamic, interesting and full of creativity. The more I researched the advertising industry, the more I knew this was a career for me.
Early on I had a significant interest in the audio and publishing space and my first job was working as a project manager in a partnerships team.
What is your proudest career highlight?
I’ve been lucky to have had a few career ‘pinch me’ moments, but I have to say, you never forget when you win your first pitch. Pitches can be long hours and insane amounts of work.
However, when you work on the pitch preparation, get to present and then win it, there is nothing that can quite compare – it makes all your hard work worth it! My first pitch win is definitely a massive career highlight for me.
What ad campaign or person do you admire most? (Other than your own campaigns!)
I know this is incredibly cliche, but when it gets to Christmas and I see the Coca Cola Christmas advert for the first time, it gives me such a burst of excitement and nostalgia.
For so many, seeing this for the first time marks the start of Christmas. It is such a simple creative that runs the same every year, but it gets people talking and excited, showing the power of advertising connecting through sentiment.
Best piece of advice you’ve received?
If things go wrong, don’t go with them. I saw this phrase written out once, and it has always stuck with me. When things go wrong, we have a tendency to get wrapped up in the mistake.
Things are always going to go wrong, but rather than worry about it (which I can be guilty of!), try and learn from it and leave it in the past as a life lesson.
Why does advertising matter?
For any business that wants to succeed, advertising matters, it is as simple as that – whether you want to grow your business or ensure your voice is heard in a space. Advertising allows you to connect with your audience and if done well, this can be meaningful and shape important conversations.
It can also stretch beyond business. Advertising can be used to relay powerful messages and act as a platform to voices that may not otherwise have been heard.
An example of where this worked particularly well was the Nike ‘If You Let Me Play’ campaign, which ran a few years back. This opened up conversations about how women are addressed and portrayed in sport and ultimately led to brands changing how women were represented.
What’s your favourite ad campaign featured in news brands?
There are so many to choose from. However, one of my favourite recent campaigns would have to be how the government utilised print during lockdown to relay important ‘stay at home’ and ‘keep clean’ messaging, specifically co-ordinating print cover wraps across multiple publications.
This follows from my earlier point that while advertising is great for growing a business, it can be used for so much more: connecting with the public and changing perceptions.
You’re a journalist for a day: what would you cover?
I’m passionate about women, diversity and inclusion, so would love to cover any story that can put those underrepresented voices at the forefront.
How does journalism matter to you?
Like most people, every day I go online and check my favourite news site. If I am commuting to work, I will pick up a paper. These simple steps are so important to our daily routine.
I think we often take quality journalism for granted but without it we would not be able to access the well-researched information we habitually seek.
With so much going on in the world it can often confuse and overwhelm us. Quality journalism gives us the tools to try and make sense of what is happening around us.
Journalism’s role in challenging power and informing the public is fundamental to the fabric of our society.
Who or what is your biggest inspiration?
It would have to be the amazing people I get to work with every day. I am so lucky that our Publishing & Audio team is so close-knit.
We support each other and work hard for one another in a way that you don’t always get everywhere you work.
Who are your fantasy dinner party guests?
RuPaul, Dolly Alderton, Joanne McNally, Jess Phillips and Fran Lebowitz.
How do you switch off from work?
Planning holidays, watching Netflix, seeing my friends and cooking. Of course, the odd bottle of wine may feature in some of these pastures…
If you weren’t in the advertising industry, you would be…?
I love cooking so much, so definitely something that lets me work with food. Maybe a food buyer!
Gym or gin?