In this week’s interview, Deane speaks about his journalism hero, his fascination with human behaviour and the fine margins that make advertising so important.
How did you get into the advertising industry?
I always had an interest in human behaviour: how it’s influenced and what motivates people to do things. That and basically just thinking Roberto Carlos, Cafu, Ronaldo and co. playing football through an airport in a Nike ad was just the coolest thing in the world.
So I decided to study Advertising at University. I managed to come out the other side with a degree and then applied for every agency in town. I didn’t want to consider anything else really.
What is your proudest career highlight?
Getting my first job at OMD UK after leaving University. I was extremely grateful for the opportunity and absolutely loved it. I learnt a lot in a very short period of time. I’ve worked on some really cool accounts since and done lots of work I’m very proud of but getting my first job was the best feeling.
What ad campaign or person do you admire most? (Other than your own campaigns!)
As mentioned, it was Nike ads that captured my interest before working in the industry and they’ve continued to do so since. Everything they do is gold. Even recently, Nike LDNR was three minutes of content that I would watch over and over again on YouTube. Nike go beyond trying to sell sports gear, they are an amazing pull brand. Their advertising is not just advertising: it is content that people actively choose to watch, share and relate to.
Another favourite is Guinness. From beyond a traditional advertising campaign point of view, every single marketable touchpoint is consistently brilliant. They’ve created an untouchable brand.
Best piece of advice you’ve received?
Trust your gut – it’s probably right.
Why does advertising matter?
As advertisers, lots of factors are out of our control. With every single touchpoint or factor that can exist in making a purchase, advertising can end up often only making up a small percentage of that influence. But that’s what makes it so valuable. With many brands having such large competitive sets, with different pricing strategies or external factors impacting demand, advertising is the element that gives our clients the edge needed.
Creating differentiation in convoluted marketplaces or communicating a USP where it feels so challenging to do so is why our jobs are so difficult but so engaging at the same time.
What’s your favourite ad campaign featured in news brands?
The campaign as a whole was an interesting one, but its print execution was notably striking: HSBC’s “We are not an island”. The bank being this overt with their particular political standpoint could be argued at length to decide if they were right or wrong to do so, but either way, the campaign stood out. The local executions then delivered across Metro cover wraps and other news brands, gave the campaign a feel of very localised dialogue. People paid attention and certainly responded to it.
You’re a journalist for a day: what would you cover?
The final day of a Ryder Cup. But preferably not the one that happened most recently.
How does journalism matter to you?
The landscape is under heavy scrutiny. We live in a post-Leveson inquiry world, where integrity is often questioned. Fake news, accusations of bias, and clickbait are rife.
Credible, authentic and transparent journalism is more important than ever. It certainly exists, and we mustn’t forget that. Journalism for me is about credibility and accountability, not just for the publisher but their subjects.
David Walsh of The Sunday Times is a bit of a hero of mine. His pursuit of Lance Armstrong carried more weight, influence and a greater desire for justice than any ‘governing body’ had. It’s investigative journalism at its best, holding people (or in this case, self-titled demigods) accountable when the rest of the world believed he had no right to.
Who or what is your biggest inspiration?
I take inspiration from anyone that’s happy, really. I like being around people who love what they do and are positive, it’s infectious.
Who are your fantasy dinner party guests?
How many do I get? John Lennon, Liam Gallagher, Taylor Swift, Freddie Flintoff, Bob Mortimor & Tim Key. Eclectic mix!
How do you switch off from work?
I like to paint. I often paint landscapes in oil, either places I have been or would rather be. It’s a bit like meditation for me, you can really get lost in it. Four hours later you can suddenly just wake up and realise what you are doing.
In fairness, I am usually doodling when I should be working too…
If you weren’t in the advertising industry, you would be…?
I’m not just saying this I promise, but I would like to have been a sports journalist. I think the armchair pundit in me believes people might be interested in my genius take on events.
Gym or gin?
Gym followed by gin, or most likely, a lovely Guinness.