Campaign podcast: Nils Leonard and Katie Mackay-Sinclair review the creative year

The pair reflect on how a pandemic-dominated 2020 affected creative businesses.

Podcast: Mackay-Sinclair and Leonard
Podcast: Mackay-Sinclair and Leonard

Uncommon Creative Studio co-founder Nils Leonard and Mother London partner Katie Mackay-Sinclair talk to Campaign's creativity and culture editor, Brittaney Kiefer, about what creative work stood out and how creative companies have adapted in this pandemic-hit year.

Leonard and Mackay-Sinclair are candid about how the creative process has been helped and hindered by home-working, how brands with purpose had effective messaging during the pandemic and what lies in store for 2021.

Both guests have strong views about what made effective advertising this year, despite the challenges of trying to market to people during a pandemic.

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Referring to a YouTube video in April about how "all Covid ads look the same", Mackay-Sinclair, says that sentiment is "the best reflection of what happens when everything is conditional and everyone is crippled by fear".

By contrast, she describes the "real sense of wit" in Mother's campaign for KFC in August, for which the brief was to "bring a banjo" while everyone else is bringing a "violin".

"I think the brands and agencies that were able to do more than just the holding a mirror to reality were those that had the confidence to stick to who they were," she adds.

She also discusses how the agency has tried to improve wellbeing for staff while working from home.

Meanwhile, Leonard laments the lack of office-working over the past year, describing offices as a "competitive advantage".

"Creatives need to make," Leonard says. "An entire industry that are used to making and producing and putting things out into the world, were suddenly told to pack up and maybe not to do that any more. I had some friends who didn't make anything for six months."

However, as we look forward to a return to normality amid the first UK vaccinations for Covid-19 this week, Leonard is very optimistic about the creative industry's ability to bounce back next year.

He says: "This country in particular is going to need to find its venom... The creative industries are going to see a renaissance like we’ve never had."

Campaign editor-in-chief Gideon Spanier and media and technology editor Omar Oakes discuss the latest industry news, including Dentsu announcing another major round of job cuts and latest forecasts that the UK ad market will shrink "only" by 4% this year.

Plus Sarah Salter, head of innovation at Wavemaker, reveals what she will look out for as chair of the judging panel for the upcoming Campaign Tech Awards.

This episode was hosted by Oakes and edited by Lindsay Riley.