At Dubai Lynx 2016 Day 2, Dave Armstrong, Director of Google’s Brand Studio EMEA, gave us a glimpse of how ‘Play’ has a large role in understanding and attaching emotion to brands. An outdoorsy man himself, he places great emphasis on ‘actually being there’, and how it can be fun with 306 degree VR.
After having created a successful tech start-up in 1999, he now works with creatives and tech to craft interactive, meaningful experiences for audiences to understand Google and their products.
We caught up with Dave to talk about advertising, productivity and funny ideas.
Here’s how it went:
1. Tell us about your journey to the field of advertising – Did it find you or did you find it?
It found me! My first real job, after studying computer science and modern languages, was as a professional DJ at clubs across the UK and France. However, given that I wasn’t good enough to make it into the true Super DJ category, I found my way back to technology through a UK start-up cloud company where I played a range of roles across product management and marketing.
Over time, this helped me discover a passion for communicating complex ideas to people in simple ways that they can relate to, which naturally led to advertising.
2. What’s the most exciting component of the creative process for you? Give us an instance.
I get equally excited when we land the pure insight as I do when the polished creative is right in front of us – sorry, I can’t pick a favourite child here.
3. Tell us about the wackiest/most fanciful/idle idea you’ve ever had.
When we created the ‘gone Google’ campaign that brought epic collaborations to life in Google Docs – like Hall & Oates writing ‘Maneater’ together (YouTube).
I had a silly idea that we should create a version for Star Wars with Darth Vader and the Emperor designing the Death Star together… it turned out to be a fun idea to play around with!
4. Have you ever suffered from a productive block? Tell us about how you overcame it.
Walking outdoors, talking to a new group of people, spending time with start-ups, making music. These things serve me well when I need to overcome a block as they give me new perspective.
5. How do you tell when an idea is good enough?
You just know. It solves the brief, it gets everyone excited and you want to invest in it. Then you have to go through the mandatory 24hr cooling off period, put it to the test with real people, and if it sticks then you’ve got your idea.
Did you attend Dave’s session at Dubai Lynx 2016? Tell us what you thought in the comments below.
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