Is there something creative we can do?

Mary Paslawski

15 Feb 2022

The ups & downs of a love affair with creative campaigns

As an account executive getting my start in PR world, those words used to fill me with dread. At that point in my career, sitting at a desk, staring at a blank screen, and trying to think of something ‘creative’ about a networking switch that would actually interest a journalist and generate news seemed like an impossible task.

And that’s because, in that setting, it was. I’ve gotten older, and a little bit (like, an iota) wiser. I made the move from PR to marketing and learned the real meaning of integrated work. I now feel pure excitement when I hear ‘let’s do something creative’, picturing the potential groundbreaking scope that a creative awareness campaign brief can allow.

I’d love to be able to whisper to my former self: ‘tell them that’s not enough of a brief’; ‘ask them if there’s budget to support a bigger idea’; ‘don’t try to do it alone’. While I can’t go back in time, I can share a few of my learnings and the campaigns I learned them on just in case there’s someone else out there getting that same sinking feeling.

5G RuralFirst: Beyond the City

This campaign will always have a special place in my heart. Arguably the first large scale creative campaign I had the privilege of working on, it also was the catalyst for my move from PR to marketing.

This campaign was baptism by fire – having to do everything from creating a brand from scratch, building a website, establishing a creative platform that led to activations like a real-time cow tracking app and an 11-minute music track, and developing all the content and doing the external outreach required. But it gave me the creative bug and I saw what you can do if PR and marketing work together.

I learned how to write a creative brief; I learned the importance of price checking an idea before sharing with the client; I learned with the right idea, you can actually make an impact on a whole industry. I will always feel proud of this work.

iRobot: Just Say Clean

I’ll be the first to admit that social media hasn’t always been my sweet spot. Anyone could take a look at my personal channels and see all my content is just my foster dogs to know that. But over the years, I’ve been able to learn and see what you can do creatively on social – and this campaign was a personal favourite.

Starting with key insights into our target audience (of course), we found a link between music lovers and tech lovers. ‘Just Say Clean’ played into that (no pun intended) with a new creative look and feel and the development of our own iRobot Spotify playlist that we promoted via organic and paid social, encouraging our audience to add songs.

I learned that the idea doesn’t always have to be massive or multi-channel; I learned that with the right insight, you can really excite an audience; I learned social applied correctly, can be highly effective on its own. Check it out here.

Cisco: Uni2021

The pandemic brought unimaginable challenges in so many ways. I’m incredibly lucky that one of my challenges was only ‘wait, how do we do creative campaigns from our living rooms?’ I’m even luckier that my clients got in the trenches with us and let us push the norms to try new formats.

With this campaign, we tackled the challenge of creating visually beautiful, emotive storytelling films remotely. Briefing and directing a student, researcher and engineer from afar, asking them to film UGC content on their phones and bringing them together in a carefully crafted edit – it was a new world, but we were absolutely delighted with what we created.

I learned that just because you haven’t done something before, doesn’t mean you can’t; I learned that having the right experts in place and working as one team makes all the difference; and I learned that you can always find a way to create beautiful content if you are solutions focused. You can read a little more about that campaign here.

My promise to you

So past self, if only you could see how in love with creative you can and will be. With the right structures, a proper brief, and the right support around you, the possibilities are endless – whether it’s jazzing up an email pitch to a journalist to delivering a connected cow app.

Now, let’s see if there’s something creative we can do…