United Nations COP18
Strategic & Executive Creative Director
I was responsible for the strategic positioning and creative direction of global facing messaging – including theme, promotional campaign and inspirational films at opening ceremonies.
Strategic challenge: Qatar owes its stability to enormous fossil fuel resources. In agreeing to host the United Nations climate change convention (COP18) the UN and host nation were open to the accusation that they were jointly perpetrating the most cynical example of apologetic ‘greenwashing’ ever witnessed on the world stage. But… I believed there was another, inspirational, evidence-based story waiting to be told.
Finding a new story
Qatar has both a developing and developed, ‘whole’ world view – arguably making it the perfect location for all hopes, uncertainties, ambitions and solutions to be expressed and explored. Qatar has embraced transformation throughout its history – diverse communities possessing a dynamic openness to change that parallels the spirit of the United Nations. I conceived and developed a unique communications programme founded on the strategic positioning – engaging local people in a way never attempted before. The UN presence would leave a lasting, positive impression on Qatar and the world.
Count me in
I conceived the inclusive theme which captured the strategic and emotional intention: 7 billion. 1 Challenge… Count me in . The campaign I created used everyday icons and language to promote Climate Change as an every day issue, affecting each of us – and challenging all of us to play our part.
This intention was vividly brought to life in all areas of the Count me in campaign. All executions powerfully reinforced the messaging and the call to action – print advertising, web-promos, banners, posters and the highly affecting films which I wrote and executive directed – screened across 60 metre screens at the opening ceremonies. Qatar became the fulcrum for individual and collective involvement across planet Earth – and I led the host nation to invite people of all backgrounds to vocalise their true concerns and hopes.
I ensured that the spokesperson at the formal opening was a young Qatari woman – challenging attitudes and perceptions – winning plaudits from NGOs.
Making a difference
Local impact included the arrival of Doha’s first recycling centres and the creation of a garden of solar powered light. Centres of learning and contribution were created all over Qatar using recycled materials and – post COP18 – these were installed in schools across the region. People of all generations, around the world, made sure their ideas counted.
The success of the theme and the strategy lived beyond Qatar and evolved.
In Paris 2017 the theme was: ‘We’re counting on you.’
SHELL + What if?
Strategic & Executive Creative Director
I pinpointed the story and framed the challenge. I developed and proposed the strategic platform: Dialogue prompts Trust. For people to dismiss myths and believe the truth about Energy, they must be invited to discover the truth for themselves. I conceived a creatively driven communications programme, WHAT IF? – a groundbreaking interactive, inclusive campaign that empowers local spokespeople, as champions of the truth.
WHAT IF? Delivering transformational change
The campaign provides exhilarating and inspirational opportunities – face-to-face, digital and physical interactives – enticing people to join the community of ‘fact finders’ – encouraged to ask searching questions and discover the truth about issues like fracking, renewables, the future. Shell provides platforms for fact finders to then share the truth. Campaign devices include 3D advertising & dramatic activations. The programme was enthusiastically embraced. The agency for whom I was working was formally admitted to the Shell agency roster.
LEXUS + GS launch
There’s more to reveal than the car
Lexus had a fantastic new car to launch. They were looking for an agency to manufacture a classically dramatic reveal. But… I’d done my homework.
There was more to the Lexus story than a great new car.
So, I pitched a radical approach to the Lexus leadership.
The agency was awarded the launch project within 24 hours.
I conceived and oversaw the delivery of an experience which began with a traditional set up: A car apparently on stage, under-wraps.
The classical reveal imminent. Music builds. Lights pulsate to the rhythm.
A Silk flies out… Wait a minute… Where’s the car?
A car reveal would have ignored the truth. Lexus was not sustaining customer confidence or satisfaction. So, magically, where a car apparently should have appeared, customers were revealed – who articulated their passion for the marque and their frustrations with recent history. Lexus professionals then joined customers in an interactive ‘launch zone’ – where the new GS awaited. This groundbreaking creative approach secured an ongoing relationship with Lexus.
unGAggED + The UNConvention
Strategic & Creative Director
BlackHatWorld – the world’s leading SEO consultancy – had invested in a major event in Las Vegas. 3 months out only 50 packages had sold.
The client wasn’t sleeping at night.
I proposed a radical solution based on my insight that BlackHatWorld’s status as a trusted forum did not lend itself to the promotion or sale of products or events. I conceived, developed and delivered a programme and communications campaign which disentangled BHW from the Las Vegas convention. I conceived a new event offer and brand:
unGAggED – unique in the SEO universe.
No Google presence. No filming. No audio recording.
Speakers reveal secrets shared nowhere else. Miss it & Miss out.
I oversaw the creation of branding, a focal avatar and teaser campaign – along with a network of international touch-points.
Creating the UNCONVENTION
The unGAggED UNConvention is covertly owned by dotcom experts – true representatives of the international target community – who make unGAggED the only platform where everything about Tech is said and heard.
Outcome: Sales of packages soared and today, two unGAggED UNConventions are annually delivered in USA & UK. unGAggED UK headlines The Daily Telegraph’s annual London Technology week.
The Royal Navy + The Sofa Sessions
Project Creative Director + Writer/Director
The challenge: Provide an effective platform for the Royal Navy to demonstrate that it is not a club exclusively for white men.
The strategy: Establish a new objective. The goal is not recruitment.
The goal is trust.
The Royal Navy was encouraged to ‘partner’ local community initiatives and recognise the effort and achievement of diverse young people – offering support and expertise in the pursuit of individual’s goals. I conceived a groundbreaking interactive methodology to ensure meaningful connection with young people of all backgrounds – and delivered the innovative and ongoing ‘Sofa Session’ experience. Yellow sofas land in local ‘hot spots’. Young people sit with members of the Royal Navy and ask or say whatever they like – discovering the truth in an uncompromising, one-to-one fashion. These live activations were supported and promoted by a multi-media and multi-platform campaign that included print, animated teasers and an evocative film that brought the sofa session model to life – capturing a number of conversations between diverse people and Royal Navy professionals drawn from all ranks, backgrounds and communities.
I conceived and directed all campaign films.
Teaser promo – 1 of 4
BAYT QATAR + QATAR HOUSE
Qatar’s Olympic House was located in the Institute of Engineering and Technology. My challenge was to lead the creative transformation of the space over several levels and deliver an experience which seamlessly blended the ancient charms and traditions of the Gulf region with the dynamism and energy of a modern nation, whose young people are eager to contribute to the future success of our world.
I conceived a design solution which used innovative media to allow visitors to experience a vision of both Doha and London, as they looked through windows. A range of spaces were themed to express sporting ambition, commercial progress and ageless hospitality.
The total design and experience was informed by an inspirational book of artistic wonders and cultural insights that I created – and which served as a touch stone and reference work. The end result was a uniquely authentic Olympic House that engaged visitors in more than a purely recreational experience.
RAF100 + Paint the town Red… White and Blue
The challenge: Win the pitch to deliver unforgettable RAF centenary events in the UK’s capital city. Offer concepts which add sparkle and the unexpected to traditional celebrations taking place in 2018. My response was founded on the idea that in it’s centenary year, the RAF has the opportunity to paint the town Red, White and Blue.
I conceived and developed proposals which demonstrate cultural, educational and societal connections between the RAF and the people of the UK – illustrating how the RAF touches all of us in more ways than we are perhaps aware of.
Concepts included: RAF100 Royal Institution family lectures + The RAF/BFi Film Festival (featuring films such as: Powell & Pressberger’s A Matter of Life and Death, Reach for the Sky, The Dambusters and David Lean’s The Sound Barrier) + RAF100 Fact totems + RAF100 Squadron buses – meet RAF personnel from across the ages + 100 RAF plaques, celebrating RAF people and landmarks in the city.
The outcome: Pitch won.
Theatre + Writer & Director
Recent theatrical work includes writing and directing two major productions for the Festival Stage at the Qasr Al Hosn Cultural Festival, in the centre of Abu Dhabi. The shows were seen by in excess of 20,000 people and proved so successful I was invited back to the UAE in 2017 to guide events commemorating 10 years of the Executive Affairs Authority.
My promenade performance show – The Human Circus – won a Gold ITMA for best experiential event. I wrote and directed the musical The Time of our Lives, staged at the Royal Albert Hall – starring Maria Friedman and in 2017 I was asked to conceive and script key moments of emotion seen as part of Shawn Mendes 2017 World Stadium Tour.
Film + TV + Advertising + Brand/marketing campaign media
Writer + Director
Film works which I have conceived, written and directed include:
Blessed (Feature Film) Official selection @ The London Independent Film Festival . Starring James Nesbitt, Natascha McElhone and Gary Lewis. UK Theatrical release & BBC Network broadcast. + Danny loves Angela. Finalist Rushes London Shorts Festival. Official selection @ Raindance. Starring Claire Goose & Matthew Cottle. + Breath of Angels. Winner, Gold IVCA Best film. IVCA Award Best script. Starring Bill Paterson. + Big Dreams and Paper Planes. Winner Gold IVCA Best cinematography. New York Festival Award. Starring James Fleet and Michael Angelis. + Rameses – wrath of god or man. Discovery Channel, Channel 5. Global simulcast. Featuring Morgan Freeman. + Days that shook the world. BBC TV.
In development: The Meaning of Me (Feature Film) + Vengeance (TV drama series) Production companies: STORM Pictures and Stephen Fry’s Sprout Pictures.
Advertising and brand films include: iDream iDrive – BMW global launch film and cinema commercial. Winner Gold IVCA, New York Festival Gold.
To see a cut down version, click on the image above or click on WATCH THIS in the menu bar. + Xtra Time – broadcast campaign for the National Blood Transfusion Service. To see one of the 6 campaign films click on the image above or click on WATCH THIS in the menu bar. + Deadline – promoting awareness of The Freedom of Information Act, created for HM GOV (including the cabinet office No10) & BT. Winner IVCA Award for Script and Drama.