John Allison & Chris Bovill talk Pablo, oddballs and hamsters

Pablo has partnered with the former 4Creative heads John Allison and Chris Bovill to work across the agency's portfolio of clients

By creative salon

John Allison and Chris Bovill were responsible for the 'We're the superhumans' spot for Channel 4's 2016 coverage of the Paralympic Games when they worked at 4Crteative.

They subsequently joined Warner Music to head its in-house creative and production unit, The Firepit.

The pair have now formalised a relationship with Pablo (which incidentally was also the name of Allison's hamster). We caught up with them to find out more about what they're up to.

You've been working with Pablo for a while but what's now changed?

This was always the plan since we first started hanging out there; To have the most fun at Pablo with the crew and still push our new project forward. After initial chats with Gareth [Mercer], it was immediately clear that we could all benefit from a partnership. The only reason it’s coming out now is because we kept forgetting to write the press release. Sorry Gareth.

Why did you choose to work with Pablo?

Simple. We have fun. Loads of fun. Everyone is ambitious, nice and super talented. You don’t need to overthink it, it’s all you need really.

Pablo seems to have shifted up a gear creatively recently. Where do you want to take it?

Our partnership involves Pablo incubating our new venture. Pablo aren’t afraid to take creative risks and are incredibly nurturing and attuned to how different people work so as to get the very best out of them. It’s very inspiring and means it is the perfect, creatively-rich launchpad for us and we can’t wait to see where it will all end up.

What's your new independent venture about?

As creative leaders we’ve gathered some unique experience over the years; advertising, TV, content, branding, music, original programming, production and also John’s Dad’s pet shop (where Pablo the hamster originated) so it’s been a fun, expansive mind-altering journey. Now we want to join the dots between it all with particular interest in how scripted entertainment can play a part. It's early days, but we’re very excited.

How will Pablo help incubate it?

Time, flexibility, love and support but, really, the ability to be upfront about our other evil doings removes a whole layer of “two-masters” stress so we can just concentrate on making cool shit, having fun and helping people.

Who is your favourite oddball of all time?

John: Triboulet, the French medieval jester. After insulting the Queen he was sentenced to death, but when asked how he chose to die, he replied “of old age”. The king loved his audaciousness and he got away with a bit of light banishment instead. Being odd can get you into trouble, but it can also be your lifeline, so let your freak flag fly.

Chris: John.

What's the oddest thing that Dan Watts has done?

This feels like we’ve been handed a loaded gun… Hmmm. There’s too many oddities to mention really, maybe you can ask us this same question every year and we’ll divulge a bit more each time. Not many people know that he’s skilled in the dark arts of close hand magic and he’s also a black belt in taekwondo. He trained with monks in Tibet, he’s got ‘iron leg’, whatever that is. He also spent months perfecting a home made Big Mac recipe. He can get quite obsessed about things, which is why he's one of the best creatives we’ve ever worked with. He’s a beautiful weirdo and we love him dearly.

What happened to Pablo the hamster?

He escaped frequently but would always return weeks or months later. He’d be all “S’up” like nothing happened, he’d hang around for a bit, dig in the sawdust, then vanish for months again. He was a freewheelin’ spirit that hamster.


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