Female Creatives Reveal Their Finest Work

On International Women's Day let's celebrate the work of female creatives across the industry

By Creative Salon

It's International Women's Day (IWD) and here at Creative Salon we thought it important to celebrate the work done by female creatives throughout our industry by letting them share stories about their favourite and best work.

Selma Ahmed and Genevieve Gransden, creative directors, adam&eveDDB

"#WeThe15" for the International Paralympic Committee (above). It was a once in a lifetime opportunity for us: to create something that has a huge impact in the real world. Not simply an advert, but a film that shapes the narrative around a global issue, has the power to shift perspectives across the world and make a real change – for good.

Franki Goodwin, executive creative director, Saatchi & Saatchi

I wouldn’t usually go back so far into the archives especially with a client I’ve done much to be proud of since but "Sea Hero Quest" (SHQ) for Deutsche Telekom really does keep delivering on the pride front.

SHQ is a mobile game designed to help advance our understanding of spatial navigation – a key indicator in Alzheimer’s dementia, and how this aspect of our brain works. People play as a sea explorer completing a series of wayfinding tasks, and every second of gameplay can be translated into scientific data by experts.

I CD’d the project alongside Will John and we crafted every element of the mobile game and an international campaign that got over 4.3 million people gaming for good. To date, the researchers have collected the equivalent of 12,000+ years’ worth of research data and it has even been used by NASA to look at the effects of gravity on wayfinding. They continue to make major breakthroughs with the data and the game itself. Getting closer to an early diagnosis for dementia? That’s as proud as it gets really.

Katy Sumption, executive creative director, Atomic London

One of my more favourite pieces of recent times is our "Papa x Cheddar" campaign for Papa John’s.

A fresh direction for both the brand and our agency - it brought a satirical take on Gen Z ‘fashun’ culture to the heart of the Papa John’s brand and helped them breakthrough in relevance to a younger audience globally.

Playful, surprising and with some limited edition merch too (sold on Depop - where else), ‘The Cheddar Drop’ put Papa John’s back in the hearts and minds of Gen Zs globally. And even got cheddar cheese in headline fashion media.

Liz Oakley, creative director, The&Partnership

The piece of work I’m most proud of isn’t actually one piece at all, it’s 80 individual ads I wrote for Argos’ spring/summer campaign.

"80 days of Argos" was a highly ambitious, utterly insane response to an everyday brief, to promote Argos’ same-day delivery service. Rather than make one big ad, we came up with the idea to run 80 individual, date-stamped ads that ran every day, for 80 days.

But it wasn’t even that simple. Every ad featured the product we knew (from data) that would be most popular that day. Science meets creativity.

The thing I’m most proud of was our ambition. Many people thought we were crazy, but thanks to incredible teamwork, energy and determination (and gallons of coffee) we make it happen.

I’m also proud of it because it worked. It was a real brief that went on to win at Cannes, British Arrows and Creative Circle as a consequence of doing what the business needed.

The success of the campaign also gave me a big confidence boost, which led to a small group of us establishing Girls on Tour - a group of ad creatives that tour ad schools encouraging more girls into creative departments. And I’m super proud of every one of them too.

Hannah Talbot and Jo Boyle, creatives, St Luke’s

One of the pieces of work we are really proud of was Very.co.uk's 2018 Christmas campaign. Not only was it a significant milestone in our careers — our first Christmas ad — it also had a really powerful message: that the gift you give could inspire a child’s future.

The campaign focused on a young girl whose parents realised her passion, and chose a gift that would encourage her to reach for the stars. With so few women pursuing careers in STEM, we hoped it might inspire the next generation to join Elsie’s mission into space.

Lynsey Atkin, executive creative director, 4Creative

There’s the old adage – ‘write what you know’. I’m still appealing to get it officially changed to ‘write what your mum knows’, because "Every Lesson Shapes a Life" for the Department for Education is exactly that – which seems appropriate for International Women’s Day.

I grew up with a single mum who taught Reception in county primary schools for nearly 40 years, and in between spending my weekends stapling up sugar-paper displays, drawing worksheets (Mum could only do ducks and elves) and laminating anything I could get my hands on, I saw a woman whose life was absolutely dedicated to giving children the best possible start in theirs.

I wanted to write something that scratched the surface of that commitment and sense of vocation – bringing to life how, as a teacher, each and every interaction creates the foundation for who a person ultimately becomes. What a powerful thing to be brilliant at. So well done Mum, I am super proud of everything you taught me, and all those other hundreds of kids. Stop crying. 

State education in this country is so, so vital. Please believe in it.  

Helen Rhodes, executive creative director, BBH London

It's hard to choose my favourite creative so I've gone for the dumbest, and when i say 'dumb' I mean that in the best possible sense. Saying something is dumb is a big compliment in my book. If you can have a very dumb idea and then commit to it and execute it to the nth degree then more often than not you’ll have struck gold.

I mean, this wasn’t the approach of filmic greats such as Hitchcock and Kubrick but what do they know about shifting buckets of fried chicken or trying to help Americans do their taxes?

Which leads me nicely to my choice, "TurboTax". This is a campaign myself, Jonathan Marshall and Derek Ho conceived to tell the great American public that they could do their taxes for free. Free as a proposition is pretty well trodden, so we wanted to do something different that went all in. 

Taxes to Americans are like gout to an overweight, 19th century gent. They come around once a year and are similarly painful. However, if you can make it a touch more pleasant by making it free then that’s all people want to hear. And if all they want to hear is that it’s free then we thought let’s just tell them that, and nothing else. So we recreated recognisable moments such as the dramatic closing speech of a lawyer and the tense final of a spelling bee, but instead of hearing the usual dialogue we replaced it with the word ‘free’. Everything else in the scene was meticulously cast, art directed, and performed to be true to the moment we were recreating. We even went to the trouble of writing the real dialogue so we knew we had the right number of frees and the intonation of each free would be right. This level of craft and attention to detail is what makes the campaign.

We also executed this idea across a whole host of other media, radio, social, digital, and even a custom made New York Times crossword puzzle, which I’m sure had half of Manhattan stumped. All that's left to say is "Free, free free free."

Emma de la Fosse, UK chief creative officer, Digitas

Any ‘first’ takes a lot of doing. But multiple ‘firsts’ require another level of determination and conviction entirely. "Magic of Flying" for British Airways was a first in technology, a first in media innovation, a first in data, a first for OOH and a first in dynamic messaging.

It all came about because our creative technologist Jon Andrews was inspired by his little girl pointing at planes flying overhead in his back garden, wondering where they were going. What if we could recreate that on digital OOH sites for our client British Airways? Wouldn’t it be a great way to show the range of destinations and even how much a ticket cost? Clearly an idea that was untested on so many levels was going to scare the beejayzus out of the account men. So using my ‘stationary budget’ we made a proof of concept to show that it could be done. We also realised this idea would require us to invent a whole new kind of media package, one which would enable us to buy space by the second on OOH sites in the same way you buy time for video and TV.

You can imagine how many decisions had to be made and how many things could have gone wrong. But the sheer bloody-minded determination of a very small crew of us drove it home. "Magic of Flying" advertised the BA sale and every time the little boy spotted a BA plane overhead and revealed the destination and the price, the tickets at BA.com flew (ahem) out the door. This work still pops up on social channels and only a couple of weeks ago someone on Insta was wondering if it was real. I replied yes it was real. And yes, it was magic.

Laura Muse, creative director, VCCP

My favourite piece of work is the Green Party film I made a few years back, "The Race To Number 10". It's got the most of me in it - a dark sense of humour with a desire to really make some change for the better in the world. Plus, it managed to engage young people at a time when they were being totally overlooked in politics. It's probably still the only party political broadcast in history to be described as "lit".

Augustine Cerf and Lauren Peters, creative team, AMV BBDO

"Painstories" for Bodyform means a huge amount to us. To be able to turn Augustine’s experience of living with endometriosis into a campaign fighting to shorten diagnostic delays, and increase empathy for the condition felt amazing. As Augustine knows too well, living in chronic pain can be very lonely. By creating a language for that pain, we hope to have made it a little less so.


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