27 March 2019

Contagious Live with Dave Trott

Our creative honchos Giles and Olly bagged themselves tickets to the first Contagious Live event of 2019 in London.

Special guest, ‘cockney adland legend’ Dave Trott was there to tell everyone about the good, the bad and the ugly of today’s advertising industry.

A man of many talents, Dave is a creative director, copywriter and author who trained in New York but originates from London (the accent gives it away). The agencies he has set up and worked for have been behind many memorable campaigns including “ello Tosh, gotta Toshiba?” and Pepsi’s “Lipsmackin’ thirst-quenchin’…” campaign. He’s also published three books, giving various accounts on his career in advertising.

Dave’s blunt and honest musings demonstrated that the basics of creativity still remain and still work, the industry just needs to live by them.


Our ECD Giles summed up the talk with these 5 key takeaways:
  1. Keep things simple. One to remember when we are all in the depths of complicated multi-layer briefs and concepts. Pare things back to a simple, powerful solution.
  2. The worst mistake in creating briefs is ticking boxes, not thinking – it’s about stripping back, not including every thought everyone ever had!
  3. ‘Be more pirate’ – Steve Jobs once famously asked, “why join the Navy when you can become a pirate?” The best creativity comes from breaking the rules, being disobedient and testing what you can get away with. If you’re just doing the same as everyone else, you may as well be in the Navy…
  4. Form most definitely follows function – our job as an industry is to get results and make the call-to-action happen (whatever it may be). It’s all well and good creating something beautiful, but if it doesn’t work and have an effect on the bottom line, it’s failed. The ideal is function and form in equal, outstanding measure but if you can only have one, go with function.
  5. Be honest – Dave’s view is that the industry is blinded with piling complexity, messaging and buzzwords into every campaign. If you sell a widget, say you sell a widget and then communicate why your widget is best widget that there has ever been.


After Dave Trott, Contagious took to the stage with some brilliant, insightful and hilarious accounts from the team on the latest campaigns from around the world, which definitely had a strong nod to Dave’s ‘be more pirate’ beliefs, and got our creative juices flowing.


Synergy take-outs from the event:
  • The same rules about creativity still apply that always have, we’re just using different channels now

    At Synergy, we’re always up for embracing our buccaneering spirit!

  • It’s a big world out there, inspiration is everywhere

    One of Synergy’s values is ‘never stop exploring’ and it’s something we continue to live by every single day


Fancy working on some career-changing creative campaigns? Check out our creative team vacancies here.

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