…’and I won’t let that hold me back!’ says multidiscipline creative, Anthony. ‘We have some really exciting projects in the pipeline this year and I plan to play a big part in creating even more.’
Continuing our series of articles from the team at The Mission Control Communications, we chat to Anthony McCann, one of the creatives who joined the team last year and hasn’t looked back since. In this article, Anthony chats about what it’s like to work with international clients day in and day out and the challenges and opportunities that presents.
What would you say is the biggest difference between The Mission Control Communications and any other agencies you might have worked with? ‘Creative freedom. We live in the real world so of course we are constrained to an extent by deadlines or a client budget, but in terms of being creative we can really enjoy ourselves generating ideas. No idea is ever just dismissed. It may not work for a particular client or campaign we are working on but there has never been a moment where we’ve been told we can’t be creative. James has an ethos that he tries to instil in us – push an idea as far as you can. It’s a much easier task to scale back from a really crazy concept than to try and expand on something that doesn’t really have legs. I try to always keep that in the back of my mind when I start any project – push the boundaries, you never know what you’ll come up with.’
You work closely with brand managers on projects that are for products and services worth hundreds of thousands of dollars, do you find that intimidating? ‘Not at all, in fact I find it greatly rewarding that designing to a budget is not the sole aim of the projects for these people, it’s the outcome and it’s effectiveness – the cost is secondary. As a designer that gives me a lot of creative freedom to explore ideas and concepts that might not even be considered if a budget was very tight. It also brought me into a lot of unknown territory as I was working on some huge scale projects for the first time and thrown into the proverbial ‘deep end’ with things I had never encountered before. In doing that I found that there wasn’t really anything to be afraid of and, without sounding corny, seeing these projects come to life and the clients feedback from them is the reason I do what I do. Fear is the biggest killer of creativity so I won’t let that hold me back. There is also a great learning experience to take from these projects that will stand me in good stead for the next ones lined up.’
Strategy is something the agency talks a lot about. But how do you see the formality of strategy sitting beside the chaos of creativity? ‘It’s not just all about pretty pictures, there needs to be thought behind what we do! There is a reason why we create certain artwork, or why a campaign is aimed in a certain direction. Our outcomes are designed to not only to be visually engaging but effective in achieving the client’s goals. I’d liken it to creativity being this crazy energy that’s buzzing to get let loose and go, strategy is pointing it in the right direction to go and blow your mind!’
Last year, the agency picked up a number of international effectiveness awards, what would you say is the secret to that success? ‘We work very closely with our clients across the globe to the point where we aren’t simply seen as an external agency but more an extension of themselves. Having a much better understanding of our clients and their needs allows us to create better campaigns for them, and in turn means more effective outcomes.’
Will you be as active on the awards circuit this year? ‘In 2015 the team picked up some well-deserved awards for a few projects they worked on before I came on board. Seeing that filled me with a sense of pride and admiration that their great work is recognised on an international level – but at the same time the creative monster inside me riled up and screamed “I want some of that!” For 2016 we have some exciting projects in the pipeline that will hopefully bring the team in some more awards and I plan on being a part of that.’
The agency works across a number of B2B sectors, is there one that you prefer and why? ‘I actually don’t have a preference as I love knowing that everyday will bring something new and challenging. I may find myself again in unfamiliar territory but I love the thrill of the unknown. I also love that what we do has an impact in the real world – take some of our healthcare clients for example, projects that we work on with them contribute to their success. Their success in turn contributes to improving the lives of sick people. I get real enjoyment and a sense of pride in seeing our creations helping our clients to grow in every way. That they keep coming back to us is testament to how effective our work is.’
Agency culture – is there one and can you describe it? ‘We are a team. No one here pretends that they know everything, and everyone always wants to improve their skills and knowledge. We respect each other. We collaborate and bounce off each other.
One person’s weakness may be another person’s strength. If we need new software, we’ll get it. If we feel we would benefit from a talk or training course, we’ll get it. If we need Red Bull, we will definitely get that! All of this adds to a real fun, creative and learning culture. I think if you settle into a culture where you think you are the finished article and reject input from others then you really are lost. Everyone can, and should want to improve.’