Creative Sparks

Atomic's Sam Isaacs on how best friends and mentors help him channel his inner copywriter

In the latest in our series spotlighting new wave creative talent, Isaacs talks about his creative journey from NZ to the UK

By Avnie Bansal

Sam Isaac is a Kiwi so perhaps its not surprising that since he landed in London just over a year ago he's found himself working at Atomic London on the iconic Kiwi beer Yeastie Boys.

The world’s smallest multinational beer company was founded in New Zealand and is now also brewing in the UK (with a kiwi accent) and one of the highlights of Isaac's portfolio at Atomic is the campaign Yeastie Boys ran as an 'Official/Unofficial' entry into Eurovision, on behalf of New Zealand, urging Eurovision to “open up and let NZ inside EU”.

Sam was also on the winning team that landed D&AD's New Blood Pencil Award in 2022 for Penguin - Penguin Coffee Cups. It was an idea that tackled the decline in book reading amongst GenZ and Millenials. With the insight that both generations are seduced by coffee-drinking culture, the team went ahead and put the first page of books on coffee cups. Genius! The coffee cups also came with QR codes for the whole first chapter of the book and additional discounts on E-Books.

Other clients that Sam has been involved with include Greater Anglia, Elgato, Heycar, Viking, and Funding Circle.

Celebrating his London anniversary, we asked Sam to tell us about his route to creativity and what helps him channel his inner copywriter.

Sam's a dream to work with. He brings a totally fresh perspective to the department, approaching every brief with a hunger and desire to take the work to another level. He also has the singing voice of an angel.

Matt Crump & Gavin McReady, Creative Directors, Atomic

Sam Isaacs: My journey as a creative started in a land far far away. In my hometown of Taupō, Aotearoa - or as you may know it, New Zealand. It was there that a prospective chef come DJ named Patrick told me to download the music production software Fruity Loops, as I mopped the floors of the kitchen after a gruelling 5 hours of dishwashing.

Of course I downloaded it, and from that point on, my life was changed forever. I fell in love with making beats. However bad they were (and still are), I was hooked. So much so that I went on to study a diploma in Audio Engineering & Music Production after I left high school. Ever since then, music and creativity has been a huge part of my life.

I owe much of my entry into the world of creativity (albeit through music) to Patrick, but it is my good friend Hamish Nixon - an extremely talented writer, and equally talented musician - that continues to inspire me to this day. The man has enough creative passion running through his veins to sedate a horse. And it was through collaborating with him that I fell further in love with music and creativity.

His unique voice and effortless musical talent have always inspired me musically, but it was his self-reflective style of songwriting that opened me up to the world of words and the power they can have on people. Especially when I decided to go back and study creative advertising in 2021.

To this day when it comes to my writing, I know if I channel my inner Hamish and make sure every word I write is considered, I’ll be in a good place by the time the inevitable and all-important deadline comes around.

But I can’t just say one of my best mates is my only creative hero. What if he sees this? I cringe at the thought. Hamish, if you're reading this, remember when you let my Callaway 3 wood go when we were hitting golf balls off the top of Trigg Hill and lost it forever? Would a creative hero do that? Probably not.

Anyway, I digress.

Along the way there have been many creative heroes that I’ve looked up to - however I’ll only name a couple otherwise this could go on forever and neither of us want that.

Firstly, Matt Sellars and Rich Robson, creative directors from The Yarn Agency in New Zealand, have made some incredibly inspiring work. From award winning New Zealand tourism campaigns to smaller projects that made huge headlines across the world - the work they make is the work you wish you made. But it wasn’t just their work that inspired me, it was their attitude towards creativity and advertising in general. They never took themselves too seriously. And in my short time working alongside them, they were genuine good guys.

Speaking of genuine good guys, I wouldn’t be writing this if it wasn’t for two of my creative heroes right here at Atomic London, Matt Crump and Gavin McReady. When I arrived in London just over 12 months ago, I wasn’t sure if I’d be able to break into the industry, having less than a year’s experience and being from the other side of the world. But after seeing my email, much to my disbelief, they got me in for a chat and before I knew it, I was opening the lid of a pristine (looking) 2017 MacBook Air. Their continued support, guidance and daily Pret runs have made entering the London advertising scene nothing short of incredible. Every day I come into work feeling inspired and ready to tackle whatever is thrown at me, and that wouldn’t have been possible without them.


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