How Chandler Bing from Friends led this BBH creative duo to an award-winning career
Chloe Neal and Ciara Boyle at BBH talk about life leading to their Cannes Lions and British Arrows Award
16 November 2023
From building a 6ft flower vulva to raise awareness about body image, to getting Max Fosh on a billboard and umpiring the streets below for Wimbledon, the Irish-English creative duo at BBH London - Chloe Neal and Ciara Boyle have had a rather successful creative journey. The duo, who first met in Edinburgh and have been at the agency for almost four years, talk to Creative Salon about their creative inspirations.
Their work for Tesco, 'Together This Ramadan' led to them winning a bronze Cannes Lions, four gold at Creative Circle Awards and also the best creative team for the year 2022 at the Young British Arrows. Very recently, they also took home a gold at the Effies for this campaign.
The 'Together This Ramadan' campaign featured digital billboards with a collection of empty plates during the day, which fill up with food as the sun sets, to signify Iftar, the meal eaten by Muslims at the end of each day’s fast during Ramadan. These billboards ran for the entire month of Ramadan in areas with high Muslim populations. The campaign resulted in a combined reach of 10.4 million across the UK, Turkey, and France.
Chloe and Ciara are all the things a young, hungry creative team should be. Talented, energetic, proactive, collaborative, always eager to learn and improve. They are at the heart of the culture in the creative department and are always looking for ways to push the work into the most surprising places. On top of all this they are also just very lovely people.
Helen Rhodes, ECD, BBH
We ask the duo obsessed with bringing ideas to life about what propelled them in the advertising world.
Chloe Neal: If it wasn’t for Chandler Bing, I might never have found advertising. Yep, you read that right. Everyone’s favourite sarcastic Friend gave me my first taste of adland.
Chandler’s season 9 musings (“I can write slogans. How hard can it be? Cheese. It’s the milk you chew.”) filtered into my subconscious. But they’d only properly resurface several years later.
Fast-forward to age 23. There I was in the dark depths of Northern Finland, teaching International Studies to kids across the tiny town of Kalajoki. I absolutely loved my job (and sauna), but I soon found myself itching to try something new.
Chandler’s words popped into my head. Advertising, that’s what I’d do.
I shared my (barely thought out) plans with my boss at the time, William O’Gorman. So he set me a task: advertise the local high school to prospective students.
My students and I built a fully functioning escape room, celebrating 100 years of Finnish independence. And let me tell you - I learned A LOT about advertising along the way.
From concepting, to pitching for funds, to sourcing props, to parroting the immortal phrase: “There are a lot of moving parts here”… It was the ultimate baptism of fire.
Thankfully, however, it all paid off.
Soon, my career jump suddenly didn’t seem so wild after all. With that, I applied for my Masters in Edinburgh, hopped on a plane, and the rest is history.
All it took was a fictional character (and a real-life character) to nudge me in the right direction.
P.S. I’m still waiting for the perfect opportunity to write my own killer cheese slogan.
Ciara Boyle: A series of (un) fortunate events
When tasked with writing about who inspires me to be creative, I was a little stumped.
Not because I don’t have anyone who's acted as a catalyst to igniting creativity within me. So many people spring to mind from mentors, directors, artists, musicians, and friends. I realised, my path to creativity has been inspired more by events, two key events to be exact, where something bad turned into something good.
Key event one; My grandad passed away.
We were extremely close and when he died, I was in a low place. I was studying fashion at uni at the time and took a module creating a short film. It was my first time working on concept creation, storyboards, script writing, casting, styling, and editing. Without sounding dramatic, it gave me a new lease of life.
At the end of it I thought, ‘Is there a name for all of this, and how do I do it as a job?’.
Key event two; I said the wrong course name at the check-in desk.
A year later I went to study for a master's degree in Edinburgh. I had driven 3 hours to an open evening to learn about their Masters in Production. When I got to the check-in desk and was asked what course I had signed up for, for some unknown reason I blurted out ‘Creative Advertising’. Young and too anxious to correct myself I waited for them to ‘find’ a slot for me to speak to the course leader as my name wasn’t on the list (course it wasn’t, I never put it down!). I soon found myself in front of the course leader Rodger Stanier not even knowing what a ‘creative’ was.
Within twenty minutes a new world of creative possibilities opened up and I knew this was the next step. Sometimes, I think it was my grandad taking over and steering me in the right direction. So, in a roundabout way, you could say he is the person who inspired my creativity.