Kicking off a series of interviews with members from our team is Gellan Watt, our MD and chief creative officer. With a glass of vino in hand, he’s giving us an insight into TJ through his eyes.
1. How did you get into advertising?
By jumping in at the deep end.
2. What was your first job?
International Retail Marketing Manager for Tiny Computers, I was still at university, and was working full time 100 miles away. Shhhhhhhh. I don’t think they noticed.
3. Indulge us with a quick bio of yourself.
I’m an adman, strategist, writer and planner. I’ve worked for famous agencies and brands in the UK and US, along with some super indies. I’ve won over 150 industry awards. I’m 15th in the UK’s Marketing Power 100 (my mum voted a lot). I work hard. I love a challenge. I like to win.
4. Why did you start Thinking Juice?
Because I thought I had it in me. It’s not for everyone.
5. What was your goal and did you achieve it?
I had one true goal. To launch an agency I would be proud of. And I am. Very.
6. What’s behind the name?
When I can’t crack an idea, I have a glass of thinking juice, which in my case is wine. Fact. I didn’t invent the phrase – but have loved it since I heard it.
7. How has the agency changed?
A lot. But I am working harder than ever to ensure the important things never change. I still place ideas over profit, and I always will.
8. Where do you see the agency going next?
We’ll go wherever we need to, to stay relevant and effective.
9. Do you have a motto?
‘Money is no philosophy’, ‘It’s only a good idea IF it works’, ‘Hard work never killed a man’, ‘Roll with the punches and come back fighting’. But my favourite is ‘Never be ordinary’ – great advice for brands, businesses and people.
10. What has been the most embarrassing moment in your career?
I cannot even begin to even flirt with committing the top twenty to paper.
11. What’s your career highlight?
Right before I launched Thinking Juice, when discussing my options with my Dad, he said to me “I am impressed by anyone that starts a business and generates their own income, and especially those that take on the responsibility of employing people. I’m proud of you just for trying.” Enough said.
12. What’s the most extraordinary thing you’ve done to win a client?
Some I can’t talk about and are directly related to the most embarrassing things I can’t mention. But the one I will talk about, after much counseling, was dressing as a hooker for a pitch. Miniskirt. Stockings. FMBs. Crop top. Make up. I looked ridiculous. But we won the pitch.
13. What keeps you at the top of your game?
Love. Enthusiasm. Curiosity. And fear.
14. What excites you most about the industry?
Ideas. I bloody love them. That and constant change and some of the fascinating people I get to work with. At its best it’s a wonderful industry, at its worst it’s brutal. If you’ve never worked in the ad game, you would never understand the highs and lows.
15. What’s your favourite campaign?
My favourite TV ad is a cliché, but I love, love, LOVE ‘Cog’ from Honda. My favourite print campaign is sadly another cliché: ‘The Man in the Hathaway Shirt’ – a campaign built on a split second decision to buy an eye patch to make the ads more interesting.
16. What’s the best advice you’ve been given?
‘Kill your babies’. And awful phrase but critical advice that I hang onto – it refers to the process of dropping ideas that won’t work, even if you love them. It’s a Saatchi line.
17. What’s your favourite book?
Industry: Confessions of an Adman.
Fiction: Of Mice and Men.
18. What do you look for in an employee?
First up, I never look for employees. I look for colleagues. I HATE hearing people say things like “they work for me”. Because they don’t. We all work for our clients.
The things I look for in the people I want to work with are simple. Personality. Enthusiasm. Intelligence. And taste.
19. What’s your pet hate?
Negativity. Assumption. Mediocrity. Laziness. Racism. Sexism. Blue food. Gossip. People that listen to gossip. And bullying.