Creative Sparks

Stand-up meets 'Art' and makeshift dancing robots: How family inspired these weber creatives

The associate creative directors at TWSC share how they learned to bring humour and creative problem-solving in their work

By Avnie Bansal

When you work at a company like Weber Shandwick, your creative scope is expected to be a little wider than at many other agencies. Working at the intersection of technology, society, policy, and media, Weber's briefs are rarely about creating the next TV ad in a series.

Take the creative team of Jack Duffield and Chris Marsden. With over ten years of experience and a background in integrated campaigns, the duo is now at Weber Shandwick creating earned-first work that gets people talking. This can mean anything from producing films and inventing new products to coming up with stunts and sneaker pop-ups for clients, including Tinder, eBay, and Direct Line.

They were also responsible for eBay UK's 'Swap ‘Em Out' Sneaker Store pop-up for sneakerheads in Soho, London - where preloved sneakers were the new way to pay. Customers could swap sneakers they no longer wore for a new authenticated pair, up to double the value of their pre-loved sneakers.

The pre-loved sneakers were cleaned by Sneakers Er and uploaded to a Swap ‘Em Out onsite edit on eBay. Funds raised from this edit went towards supporting the DEC Turkey and Syria Earthquake Appeal.

It's our priority to ensure we bring world-class creative work to our clients. Chris and Jack contribute a bold and ambitious vision, helping our clients strategically identify the moves they want to make and bringing them to life.

Amy Garrett, UK President, Weber Shandwick

And now the pair has just been promoted to associate creative directors at Weber Shandwick. So we reckoned this was a pretty good time to sit them down and ask them what sparked their creative fire.

Chris Marsden: My sources of inspiration varied along the way.

Growing up, I would have to say my creative hero would've been my grandad, a local artist from Halifax, West Yorkshire. He was the person who encouraged me to pick up a pencil and we spent afternoons tracing cartoon characters of the time.

He had a pretty unique style for an older man. As you entered his studio, there was a 20ft totem pole he'd created, featuring sporting heroes of the time, like Cantona, Bruno, Dennis Taylor and more. I remember him having some of his work displayed in a local gallery. At the time, it felt like it could've been MoMA, but in hindsight, it was probably a space above a fish and chips shop. He had a great talent for incorporating humour into his work, something that later became the very thing I gravitated towards.

In more recent times, I've always leaned towards creatives and artists who bring humour into their work. That sort of balance where stand-up meets 'art.' Artists like Mr. Bingo and David Shrigley fit that mould perfectly. They are visually interesting to look at while also providing a good laugh. I've never been into design, art, or advertising that takes itself too seriously. It's the light relief we need from the mundanity of everyday life. One of Bingo's pieces, a headstone bearing the words 'Don’t forget to have fun,' perfectly captures this sentiment. Preach!

Jack Duffield: Growing up, my mum was definitely the creative force in our house. She's a psychotherapist who retrained from an administrative role when I was a kid. Although she has said multiple times, she would have loved to do my job and would have been better at it and she probably would have been.

I remember her tirelessly creating new games and entertainment, from makeshift dancing robots to improvised superhero outfits. There was always a creative solution to boredom or rainy weekends, and we never did the same things repeatedly. This extended to birthdays too, where she used her Microsoft Paint skills to insert people's heads into various in-jokes.

As I got older, she also encouraged my own creativity, no matter how terrible it was. My brother and I received digital camcorders for Christmas and embarked on a filming spree of what was meant to be comedy. She gave us high praise at the time, which, when watching it back recently, was clearly very generous. I may not be making dancing robots in my current role (although I'd never rule it out), but it's thanks to her that I'm always looking for a creative solution to a problem. 

Jack Duffield and Chris Marsden are both Associate Creative Directors at Weber Shandwick


LinkedIn iconx

Your Privacy

We use cookies to give you the best online experience. Please let us know if you agree to all of these cookies.