A Legacy of Should’ves
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Robert Berkeley 0:02
Hello and welcome once again to Iinside Jjobs with me, Robert Barclay in collaboration with the in house agency forum or IHAF have an Eexpress KCS production partner to the in house community. This episode we have one of the leading practitioners of in house agencies and father of one of the most recognised and long running campaigns in the UK, Australia and even across Scandinavia. It's hard to overestimate the cultural reach of Graham's tagline should have gone to Specsavers but the body of work that Graham Daldry produced in his tenure at Specsavers has been a real testament to the power of brands running their own in house agencies. He left Specsavers in 2020, to write and consult. So I'm thrilled that we have been able to find time in his book writing scheduledsheduled to join us on Inside Jobsinside jobs. Graham, welcome to Inside Jjobs. Thank you very much. It's a great pleasure to join you. Well, it's a it's a real, as I say, thrilled to have you with us. You are of the work that you do is extremely well known. But we would like to talk about how you produce such a creative powerhouse for a brand later on. But at the moment, I don't think you have a life of leisure, you do seem pretty busy. Is that right?
Graham Daldry 1:16
Yeah, I've been very busy. Actually, I've been writing, I've really writing a book about advertising. And about writing, which I'm very much looking forward to getting out which is nearly complete. Actually, I'm just on the last chapter at present. So I'm hoping that that's going to see the light of day quite soon.
Robert Berkeley 1:31
Tto writing a book about writing, what sort of writing,
Graham Daldry 1:34
It'sit's about writing. It's about how to write a line, which is a skill that extends quite considerably outside advertising. But inevitably, having spent nearly 13 years of my career working in advertising quite a lot of it is also about advertising. But I think that most writers in most most disciplines will find it moderately useful. I hope so anyway.
Robert Berkeley 1:57
So the aim is is to what then improve one's ability to convey or to persuade with writing.
Graham Daldry 2:03
It's not really about the art of persuasion. As such, it's more about thinking about how you write and the techniques that you use in order to communicate and what techniques work and why. And if you like, you know, if you're a young writer starting off in any writing role, it's designed to give you some, some tricks and some techniques to overcome some of the challenges that we face, which I remember pretty well to be honest with you.
Robert Berkeley 2:34
Well, so the manuscripts nearly done, and it'll be published hopefully later this year. But Graham, let's go back to to your to the to the Graham gramme Daldry origin, then, where are you actually from originally? And what did you want to do when you were much younger and, and indeed, wasn't advertising?
Graham Daldry 2:51
Well, I grew up in Manningtree Essex, which is a small town, to coach to live search, and I still live near there. And I really wanted to do a university lecture for the first 30 years of my life. And And I was thwarted in that effort by Margaret Thatcher, unfortunately, who decided that she didn't really like art subjects very much.
Robert Berkeley 3:19
You knew what you wanted to lecture on. It wasn't being a lecturer that you want to do it with. There was a specific topic in mind.
Graham Daldry 3:24
Yes, I wanted to lecture English and I spent most of my youth reading afraid, was a bit of a bit of a geek.
Robert Berkeley 3:32
Who did you read? They what's the what sort of books did you draw?
Graham Daldry 3:34
Everything? Arthur Andersen, CS Lewis talking, and then dekins. Title Studio, everybody, really I read everything I could.
Robert Berkeley 3:46
So So you were thwarted in your attempts by a personal intervention by Mrs. Thatcher who felt that a life in commerce was was better for the country
Graham Daldry 3:55
when it felt personal, but I don't think it probably was, it was, it was it was just a belief that she had that sciences were more valuable than arts and she therefore, more or less terminated any prospect of young people having a career as a university lecturer on that subject. So faced with that I I did pike on for a few years I had about I think I had two or three jobs ended up at University College of Wales in Aberystwyth, which was very pleasant but hard to get to. And after that, I decided really to kind of that discretion was best part of valour and, and society, as you'd probably think I really wanted to ever be anything more than penulis that I should start to think about what else I might be able to do.
Robert Berkeley 4:43
So you were still in your 20s at this point?
Graham Daldry 4:46
Yeah, I was in my mid 20s. So the list is fairly shortly and I am I started doing the rounds of various businesses and ended up in a small agency which is A creative director called Ian Dunn had had ended up in for some strange reason I don't really quite know, Manchester. And he had done was, was a great writer had run one. pencils, radio work in London and
Robert Berkeley 5:14
pencils being being crazy.
Graham Daldry 5:17
The idea was yes Yes, yes, yes. The most revered form of advertising award, I think even now. And he was, he was quite an exceptional person to run into Manchester in those days, because it was full of retired salesman trying to run advertising agencies. A lot of the small agencies were quite poor. But, but yeah, so he hired me as a writer
Robert Berkeley 5:39
of interest do parents been in, in advertising? Or in a commercial? Were they were they academic or?
Graham Daldry 5:46
No, no, both my parents, my father was a poultry advisor for pools, animals feeds. And my mother was, was eventually a primary school teacher, although she only did that quite late in life.
Robert Berkeley 6:00
But there were no restriction on your horizons, obviously, as you were, as you were developing.
Graham Daldry 6:05
No, no, no, no, they were just happy with I was self sufficient. So that was there a beep in the middle of that.
Robert Berkeley 6:10
So let's go back to Manchester. So you've you're wandering the streets of Manchester? And did you find this chat? What was the name Ian Dunndone? Yeah. Ian DunnIn done? Yeah. And DunnDan, did you find a and Dunn done sort of roaming the streets? Or did you know him already?
Graham Daldry 6:21
No, I didn't know I was really just cold calling, oh, different places, you know, knocking on the door. And you were thinking I didn't really even know what I wanted. I saw all those nasty
Robert Berkeley 6:31
Thatthings, your were trouble you trying sort of every kind of business there was just looking for a job?
Graham Daldry 6:36
Well, you know, businesses that seemed remotely remotely creative. Remember, I went to a couple of architects and how
Robert Berkeley 6:48
How things get turned out? How is that that's a made up
Graham Daldry 6:51
Yeah up few sales jobs. And you know, that sort of thing. I wasn't really interested in that, because I was, you know, direct selling. The Arab actually went and talked to some Cardenas on stage. It's quite interesting. Yeah, it was, it was it was quite an interesting time. And I found out quite a lot about how businesses work. Because obviously, I haven't been capital University for most of my life, quite sheltered life.
Robert Berkeley 7:12
Did you find it exciting? Or daunting?
Graham Daldry 7:14
Yeah, a bit of each hour. 20 minutes, I was pretty angry at Mrs. Thatcher. I have to say, Sorry, we probably possibly still, at every
Robert Berkeley 7:22
At every red wedge get going and, and throwing things
Graham Daldry 7:25
Yeah through. I think I might have sold the odd copy of socialist worker back in those days.
Robert Berkeley 7:30
Interesting. Okay. So that's gonna be interesting to compare with your commercial life capitalism later on. So what was your first gig the end gave you what was you remember the first work you put onto?
Graham Daldry 7:40
Oh, goodness. Now? That's a good question. I think mobeen kitchens. I think Megan kitchens is still around that ship,
Robert Berkeley 7:46
I think, no doubt due to your early impetus given to them, I'm sure. Yes.
Graham Daldry 7:51
I think that that was something I've worked on. And they had some business for various car dealerships, which
Robert Berkeley 7:58
and how did you how did you feel once you got in the four walls of a real agency? I mean, it was obviously a whole new experience for you coming from academia, but did it really
Graham Daldry 8:07
well, I think, I think I think about quite a home start with because they're the typewriters and it was all quite shabby. So you know, the agencies, you know, even posh agencies, you know, I used to go down sigma ground London in those days, and you'd walk into Sachi Sachi internet huge reception. But of course, when he got shown into the creative department, we were working in cupboards under stairs. I remember I went to see the bicycle Dean 30, who'd done some lovely work for the was it for the I can't remember national coal board, I think or for for real coal fires anyway.
Robert Berkeley 8:41
Yeah. And So you wouldn't remember that campaign? Yeah.
Graham Daldry 8:43
Yeah. Yeah, it was a good writer. But he was working on his own, literally in a cupboard under the stairs.
Robert Berkeley 8:50
Well had that said, what does that tell you about their place in the in the agencies kind of hiring? So you got your foot on the first rung of the ladder working with an me in Manchester. And it all looked a bit comfortably shabby. Yeah. How did that how did you get better upholstery, then over the years will tell you take us on the journey.
Graham Daldry 9:13
Um, well, I you know, mean, like all creatives, I moved around a lot after that. And I worked at probably just about almost every agency in Manchester, I think, ended up at TWA Manchester.
Robert Berkeley 9:26
Is that because they couldn't keep this burgeoning talent? Or are you just found? I think I think that most of you might have been more financial. I really saw you. When you were in your 20s and 30s, every couple of years, move on and get a big, big, big pay rise along the way.
Graham Daldry 9:43
Well, I wouldn't say it was ever a big one. But certainly, you know, it was pretty necessary at the time that my kids were born. I've got to say that Yeah, you might you are having a family around that time as well. Yeah, yeah. Yeah. My daughter was born during the pitch upon which my job depended. According to the creative director who hired us at the time,
Robert Berkeley 10:02
did you know that at the time, yeah, while you were pitching,
Graham Daldry 10:05
Sorry say, I kind of alternated between home and sitting under the desk, really at one stage,
Robert Berkeley 10:10
Did you change your approach to the pitch, knowing that your job depended on it, regardless of what was going on at home. To be honest with you, I think we were pretty desperate to win. everyone's job depended on it. Your job always depended on the last job done. But they both came both back came, right I trust,
Graham Daldry 10:29
Yeah Yeah why we won, we won that pitch on the one after, and then I went to the agency, we'd run the business off and run it back again. So that was quite good. I was quite popular.
Robert Berkeley 10:38
And what was your responsibility in these these pitches that were you obviously finding your feet at this point? Well, what was your role in there among the team?
Graham Daldry 10:46
I was copywriting creativity. So I was working as an art director. And under the direction of creative acting, you know, what, we're always quite small quota departments. So five, six teams?
Robert Berkeley 10:57
And did you find that that having been an English lecturer, and having understood English from the point of view of great literature, you could apply that to writing pithy one liners for regional Porsche agency?
Graham Daldry 11:10
Porsche agency? Well, that's really what my books about, you know, I think, I think you can either write or you can't really, and I think that I think being able to write is obviously a huge advantage. I think,
Robert Berkeley 11:21
when you say you can either write or you can't you mean, it's an innate ability? Or you mean, it's a learned ability?
Graham Daldry 11:26
No, I absolutely think it can be learned. But I think that, I think that if you if you become a good writer, it's a it's a skill that is transposable. You know, I don't think it's necessarily just, you know, just typical two to one discipline. So, no, I absolutely think you can learn to be a writer. I think, I'm fairly sure that having read a lot study, a quite good study. And I think that, you know, the skills involved in writing a good line, are very similar to the skills that a parent might use, you know, and I, that sounds very pretentious, but you have to have a feel for language, you have to have a feel for rhythm and tone has to be able to speak in a voice, you know, which is the voice of the brand that you're talking for. You have to have a lot of skills that are you know, very, you know, very, very universal, really, to be honest with you across all kinds of writing.
Robert Berkeley 12:20
So let's keep going. You were you were a copywriter in a team, and you're working on regional campaigns, mostly from the north of England. Where did Where did you go from that?
Graham Daldry 12:29
Right? Yeah. So I ended up at an agency called Poulter's, which no longer exists, but POTUS was probably sort of specialised in, in TV in sort of cheap TV, if you like. And I think that in the time I was there, when I left, I believe I deleted about 2000 TV scripts from my from my computer. And that was that was great training, actually, because it wasn't just the writing of the scripts that was done on a shoestring. The production was also pretty compromised by money, or lack of it. So Say I got involved in everything. And I remember standing in the middle of Yorkshire more in the fog, trying to rescue a commercial for Yorkshire water on my own, with no help from anyone, and being on the phone trying to find an alternative location that wasn't foggy it within within the within distances and creeper travel here, and then there was me that was done before. So that was that was fun. And yeah, we got involved all sorts of things. So
Robert Berkeley 13:35
Iit sounds like a lot of TV going on there. Were you working in In other media as well? Are we these sort of, you know, these are all media campaigns? I guess. Right?
Graham Daldry 13:43
Well, I think the costs of printing very rapidly learning copywriting in, in regional agencies, you have to do everything, literally. But politics was definitely where I learned to write TV scripts. So they had some quite a few they had McCain oven chips, they had Fox's biscuits, Sharpsharp TV, Morrison's as well, which is one of the accounts that we want to pitch. Yeah, and they ordered TV in those days, because TV was pretty cheap. And yeah, and I mean, you know, by then I was probably, I think myself, my partner were the most senior team in the agency at the time. And we got we got all the TV white, really. And, yeah, we produced a crazy amount of not a lot of it saw the light of day, I have to say, but we certainly produce a crazy number of scripts.
Robert Berkeley 14:33
So what was the most rewarding part of all of that, then? Was it actually being at home with your wife and seeing one of your ads appear? Is that is that is that where it all kind of, you know, you congratulate yourself and get that warm feeling?
Graham Daldry 14:45
I think at the time, it was just a very, you know, the most rewarding thing has always been really being able to think the great thing about advertising is it all happens quickly. So from beginning to end, you see the whole thing through you know, so you see an outcome and I think You know, that's something that I think is very rewarding. I think if, if you're, if you're working in a, shall I say, a kind of more creative environment, you know, I think more care takes gets taken and more time gets taken, you know, advertising is always a rush. And you always have to get it done. And there's always a compromise between How good can it be? Can it actually be done on time? And can it be done for the money? You know, those two things are always fighting each other. And I think, you know, getting the balance, right, and finding a way of getting something great with all the kind of compromises you have to make is always a battle, but I find it you know, it's threatening, and after three months, it's usually done and you're on to something else, you know, so it's always fast moving, and that that, by the way, really goes even for well. She goes especially for Specsavers, actually, because you know, although it's just one brand, you're constantly, you know, want to make some snakes and snakes and it's very fast moving.
Robert Berkeley 15:55
So in 1996, you went to the Ogilvy &and Mather yum. I did. Yes. Okay. And this was in London? Yes, yes, it was. So felt like a step up, I presume felt like you were kind of entering the mainstream sort of agency world at this point. But it certainly did in terms of the agency
Graham Daldry 16:14
But it certainly did in terms of the agency at the time, and I think this has changed, but at the time, there was a totally different atmosphere, in London agencies, to regional agencies, you know, the briefs of champagne and cocaine rather than, well, no, no, I missed out on all that. That's a good thing or a bad thing. Now, the past the days were over, but there was certainly, you know, some very bright people really interesting, you know, really interesting thinkers. And you know, it was very, it was more demanding and challenging in a very good way. Right?
Robert Berkeley 16:44
Sstretchy, it stretched to bar. And yeah yeah. And was this way you started to think more or less about, I've got this tactical issue right in front of me, and I need to solve it for the price. And I'm in a foggy field in Yorkshire and how am I going to get this done? and more into thinking about how do I get these people around me to produce better work? And how do I ensure that we organise this in such a way that it's most effective? Is it at your time at O & MO and M? Where that those sort of thoughts started to come along? Yeah, well,
Graham Daldry 17:11
Yeah, well, I've been responsible for other advertising teams while I was working up north, and they're managing other creatives is something that kind of comes I think, I think, you know, it's almost it's like teaching, isn't it? Really, you have to teach people really, rather than rather than salt, like more more management, which is something I've explained to countless HR departments, because Am I correct, but it's just that it's not the same, you know, you, you're actually trying to teach people how to do things. And, you know, that's the sec...ixth, that's the secret of, of success, really. And I think if you, if you mentor people well, and encourage and coach them, well, you can really get an awful lot out of people that aren't experienced at all, because at the end of the day, it's about how well they think, you know, and how well.
Robert Berkeley 17:57
Tthey write it. But it's also a balance of your own bandwidth, your time that you can apply to mentoring someone, and the time they might take in order to get them where you want them to go. Right, you have to invest time in them. In other words, and
Graham Daldry 18:10
Yes, you do. Can you invest? No, no, you have to learn to value their work as highly as you value, right, which I think a lot of creative directors felt a duty, honestly. But you do have to do that in order to in order to mentor people successfully.
Robert Berkeley 18:24
How do you how do you ever cut when, especially when you're you're coming up from the creative side? Right? I mean, there there are many types of in house agency leader, but you know, the majority either come from creative or they come from agency kind of account management side, when you are creative yourself. How do you learn to appreciate what others have created? And take that on? Because it seems so personal?
Graham Daldry 18:52
Well, I don't know. I think it's something I've always kind of definitely found that hard. I don't, I don't really know why people find it difficult to understand.
Robert Berkeley 19:03
I mean, I think it's self confidence and insecurity surely isn't?
Graham Daldry 19:06
Well, I think I think there must be a lot of that. But I think that if you are really, if you're really focused on creating, then you know you love all creatives, don't you? And I think that that is really kind of the key to being a good creative director, you have to have a passion for being creative. And I think that passion has to be greater than anything else. So if somebody else comes up with a wonderful, I do feel envious, you just feel Wow.
Robert Berkeley 19:35
Well, you'd spent a good time working for regional agencies you'd spent well know that long actually, was it really it was pretty brief, really brief, really. And then in O & MO and M, you were there for three years as well. So you really kind of had about six years of agency experience, but you'd obviously shot up the ranks as you as you'd gone. How much did you enjoy your time at O & MO and M and how did the transition to anAnd in house agency, which you're going to tell us in a minute, whether it really existed in that capacity or not. How did that how did that all come about? I'm curious.
Graham Daldry 20:07
Yeah, very quickly. I loved it. You know, I loved working. I loved the people, I thought that I really enjoyed it. But the motivation really so moving on was this as usual financial because I was struggling with the consequences, maybe down south and you know, all that stuff. So, so I was looking for something, you know, that was that was that was kind of gonna take me somewhere else. And the the job at Specsavers was a strange one reading because I said no to initially, so they approached you. Yes, yes. How did they know you? attempted? Oh, the headhunter? They used to say they used a headhunter, and I knew well, unfortunately. And, and she tried to convince me twice before I actually went, Oh, okay, I'll go and talk to them.
Robert Berkeley 20:54
go and talk to them. Am I And why were you... Why were you so reluctant? I thought.
Graham Daldry 21:00
I thought. Yeah, I mean, that tasted good. So it takes you out of London.
Robert Berkeley 21:04
Yeah. The main so wasn't the idea of an in house agency that put you off so much. It was just their location.
Graham Daldry 21:09
Yeah. That and, and to the frankly, you know, the work that they had been producing wasn't amazing. But they did have a strong ambition to improve. So they were already running their own creative operate. They already had the idea. They didn't want to use an external agency happy. They've never used an external agency and their whole existence since 1985. They have
Robert Berkeley 21:29
They have family owned, is that right? Yes. So the family kind of decided so just just again, for people who don't know so Specsavers is an extremely well known chain of of opticians in the UK, Australia, Scandinavia. And family owned family started in the 80s. Yeah,
Graham Daldry 21:46
Yyes. or certainly mid 80s. Yeah. So they are ironically, as a result of changes to the rules made by the same this is such a benefit. I guess I did yeah.
Robert Berkeley 22:00
So you get to just tell us a little bit then about the culture at Specsavers that led them to thinking that way before you joined,
Graham Daldry 22:07
Hmmum, well, really, you know, the beginning of the 2000s it was in a good position it was it was sort of level pegging with the other big opticians, so you know, boots, and promotionsdonations and business vision Express were the main rivals, and it had fought hard to get there. But it had a very good perceptionproposition, which is that it basically gave people the same quality for a much lower price. And it's significantly undercut the competition at the time. And obviously, you know, in that market, which is very rooted on medical expertise, that's that's can be a mixed blessing for a while, but I think that probably what he was lacking was a kind of a marketing interface that reflected its, its positioning in a kind of a human way, you know? So really, right from the beginning, it felt right for me to use humour, and a more engaging way of talking to its customers.
Robert Berkeley 23:11
It did tempt you You said you turn them down twice, but then you went down, and they made some offer you couldn't refuse presumably.,
Graham Daldry 23:18
presumably, when I went to speak to them, Robert, I just thought what a wonderful opportunity.
Robert Berkeley 23:25
Oh, right. So here's a great bag of toys to play with?
Graham Daldry 23:27
Well, yeah, absolutely, you know, just seemed like a just an incredible opportunity to be able to, first of all, to be able to get my hands on some lovely grapes really, and, and improve the output. There was a lot of scope for that. And also, to work directly with the marketing director, which I think you know, is something that a lot of creatives secretly wish they could do more of.
Robert Berkeley 23:52
Yyou were able to strip away that that interface, then that that got in the way of the need for the message and the in the creation of the message. Yeah, yeah. All that. And now that was conscious on your part. Because, you know, you'd think that you'd go there from these traditional agencies and just apply the same model that you'd experienced. But it sounds like you consciously decided that you didn't you didn't want that.
Graham Daldry 24:15
No, no. Being able to walk into the Nicene director's office, if you didn't like the decision you've made and ask him why I've done it. It's just one of the most brilliant and life changing
Robert Berkeley 24:25
Ccan be career changing, too.
Graham Daldry 24:27
Yeah, it was it was. And I think, you know, sometimes you'd have an argument, or a discussion or, or a conversation depending on how you felt. And Agila you've walked out, not always, not always having one your point. In fact, rarely are the one we're putting to be absolutely fine. But at least knowing why we were doing what we do, which I think is something that every creative needs to know. And that helps you the next time, right? Hopefully, yes, you learn you learn about how the client thinks you learn about where they want the brand to go. And it means that you And then find workarounds to remain creative, to come up with a creative solution to the particular problem that the business faces. And I think having that insight is is key to why we were able to produce good work. But I think you're right, it's mediated, is never quite the same as you never quite working for the same company. You know, it was really interesting, actually. Because about six months ago, I was invited to join a webinar. And it was about how this the future of retail, I think, was the title of the webinar. And the other people in the conversation, were talking about their customers. But of course, they were talking about their clients. And it took me a regencies. Yeah, yeah, they're all from agencies never talking about their customers. And it took me about three quarters of an hour to work out why I didn't understand the conversation. Yeah, because I honestly, you know, you don't, that's the difference that that for me, that sums up the difference, the critical difference of being a creative working in house because your customers are the customers. And you get, you get a more direct link. You know, I worked in partnership with the marketing directors at Specsavers, but you get a direct, you get direct access to the customers and how the customers think. And when you talk about customers, you're talking about the customers, you're not talking about what the client wants, or what the client thinks or what the client expects, because you've kind of taken that into account, because you've had those conversations, you know, you don't need to think about that. But I think that's that's, that's that's why you are in a much better position to produce good work in house. And I say the better position because I don't think it always happens. But that that is the potential for me of working.
Robert Berkeley 26:44
It doesn't always happen. And indeed, in house agency, detractors will gleefully point to where it doesn't work in house. Yeah...Yeah. The most famous one I can think of off the top of my head is the Pepsi campaign from must be two years ago now. Where I think they tried to sort of jump onto the bandwagon of, of public demonstrations around various causes and landed in a very tone deaf manner they did was that not a shortcoming of an in house agency that wasn't really aware of what was going on in the wider market? Well,
Graham Daldry 27:18
Well, I think it's one thing to have the opportunity, it's another thing to produce good work.
Robert Berkeley 27:23
Very good. So let's talk about good work. Let's talk about the band's Greatest Hits, because I know that certainly a lot of listeners, certainly here in the UK be very intrigued about the evolution of their legendary and still running campaign, I think, isn't it?
Graham Daldry 27:36
Yeah, yes. It's you won't die? I think it is, because even when they did, I think I think it's fair to say that they have tried to quietly drop it a few times, you know, and most recently, probably in the last 12 months. But then then a Donald W.Dominic Cummings comes along to the production and it's, yeah, it's just on everybody's lips, isn't it?
Robert Berkeley 28:00
Absolutely. So So how does such a thing come about tell us about the environment that you'd created there?
Graham Daldry 28:06
I think the biggest issue that I had when I arrived at Specsavers was to create a team to manage I had, I had I think six Mac operators, and they had a kind of a corporate video production. So
Robert Berkeley 28:20
Whowho was coming up with the copy and the creative ideas and the strategy and all that?
Graham Daldry 28:25
Well, there wasn't a lot of it, the previous creator director, the guy that over pasted done some of that, you know, there was a bit of copyrighted by the marketing people and you know, that sort of thing that goes on. Okay. It was very small scale, I have to say, No, it was it was quite a small account when we started.
Robert Berkeley 28:43
Aand did they give you carte blanche to with a budget to go out and recruit and how difficult was that to do down in the channel?
Graham Daldry 28:50
Yeah, not at all. No, I had to kind of really fight for it start with and I think there was so there are a couple of the back operators that are clearly more than just that Mac operators couple of quite fit well, three very talented people. And their corporate video writer also turns was also extremely good writer so I couldn't get him to come work for me it is actually still right now. Richard, Richard James, very, very good. I think that that will cause people that was that was really the where the creative team started and we then have sort of proof that that was the way to go before we were given any more resources to recruit. So as it was a very small team It was very small operation to start with.,
Robert Berkeley 29:35
Bbut you'd use externals presumably for managing shoot. I kind of thing
Graham Daldry 29:39
Pproduction Yes, Yes, we do. You're laughing this because we were not when I started there. We use Gganglia television. That's not very not very close to the Channel Islands.
Robert Berkeley 29:48
That's not very not very close to the Channel Islands. And did you were you thinking from the beginning I need a big idea for this and getting close to the the owners of the brand. The company is kind of forte and how did you You managed to embed yourself in that so quickly.
Graham Daldry 30:02
And to be fair, really, that came out of my relationship with Andrew boulders, the marketing director at the time. And we worked, we worked pretty well together. Andrew was a bit old school in terms of his, his approach to marketing, but he understood very well. But really what we needed was some kind of line quite often very disparate elements in the brand scanner. But also, he was very, he was very, he was very aware of the fact that we were spending, you know, an increasing amount of advertising but not really increasing. Recall. So this was a problem that he confronted with the with probably on a weekly basis at one stage. And we were both aware that you know, we needed a line. And interestingly, we wrote rewrote some should have ads before we had should have as alone,. Ddid you?. So we had, we had a we had a line which was, which was simply needs an eye test, which if you think about it does the same job? Yeah. We wrote some very should have scenarios. In fact, I don't know if you've seen the ad where the girl runs up to the bomb guy and kisses. But that ad was actually made before we had invented should have, right so
Robert Berkeley 31:10
Ffor the running gag in all of these, of course, you might want to quickly explain for those who don't know.,
Graham Daldry 31:14
Yyes, the running gag is just people with very poor eyesight making making, making errors and eyesight gags. So probably, you know, there are an infinite number of eyesight games, obviously. And getting reviews to a lot of them. I have to say, there are so so that was where it started. And I think you know, I think I was aware by them that if we could come up with a great line that really made eyesight gags belong to Specsavers you'd have something very powerful humour as well. Yeah. Yeah, as I say, I think humour was necessary for the brand at the time because it was such a opticians was such a critical area and Specsavers was a disruptive force in the marketplace. And Timo was perfect really to kind of, first of all to get people to like us and trust us. And secondly, really to establish Specsavers as something different in the market as well.
Robert Berkeley 32:03
It is fascinating to see how the bits come together the fact that you had a sort of challenger brand and you you therefore knew you needed humour, you needed a line you needed for recall and and how it sort of came together. And so it wasn't really a sort of Damascene sort of revelation a moment where it was sort of I got it, was it or was it?
Graham Daldry 32:23
It wasn't fair, because because because actually the way the way it came about, we were reproducing a series of scripts, some of which were the rental radio, but one of them I think two of them actually ran on TV with the sort of Specsavers family, you know, it was a bit sort of odd. So family updated clearly one of the lines in the last one of those scripts, right, the teenage daughter said to dad, oh, Dad, you should have gone to Specsavers and that lied really leapt off the patient. And you know, Richard, and I think Richard probably spotted it first, actually, then that of course, you know, everybody went Oh, that's the line. So yeah, so that was that was how it really came about.
Robert Berkeley 33:00
So yeah, so that was that was how it really came about. That came about relatively early on you were there for 20 years from around two. Ccrazily? Yes. So question people often ask about in house agencies is how do you keep it fresh when especially when you've got a timeline that just won't die as he put it.
Graham Daldry 33:18
When we started? Specsavers were very challenged in terms of their frame choice, and and obviously there's a fashion element. So at the time, technology was making small frames possible which actually they hadn't been possible in the past, you know, the wire wire wire frame technology was just coming in. And it was very important to tell people that we had small wire frames rather than the sort of big plastic glasses that people have been used to. So so quite a lot of the early work was was really should have gone to Specsavers for a nice looking pair of glasses that became impossible to say after a few years, fashion becomes eclectic because it was. But initially it was about that. So we had fun with that. But then, once that stopped working as a proposition, it was only really then. And I think we've we've mo left in 2007 Richard Holmes joined us from boots that was really good fiction survival that we started doing what I think of as the kind of the classic should have. So one of the first ads we made for Richard was was the Collie where the the shepherd shaves his dog instead of his sheep instead of his sheep. That ad was made in 2008. And it was running at the beginning of last year. One of our best had ads was the hearing. I don't know if you'd call it we featured the guy at an isolated Arctic observations station would run out of food and he gets his airdrop and a clown pops out of the crater. Much as discussed, and he gets on the radio, and he says, I said, supplies whose whose centre supplies?
Robert Berkeley 35:07
So it sounds like you were running a sitcom team really there, it was filling up with these little tiny vignettes like this. Yeah, it was very much effort so much. You've got to talk about how you broaden that and how you broaden the team. Because were we you at the beginning, you said that was really a networking team ended up obviously very creative. But did you start to take on board, other aspects of agency like media buying and strategy, that kind of thing? Yeah. So
Graham Daldry 35:35
Yeah. So. wWe hired a couple of planners, production always remained in house as it had been in the Mac operators. And then we really moved design and design, knowing what knowing which media to buy, and although we never we never got involved in media buy. So you did x? Do you always outsource that? Oh, yes. That was always that sauce. Yes. Yeah. Nearly, you know, in retrospect, I think that the successful part of being in house was really, the bit that the agencies that clients tend to leave out the successful part was, was the conceptual part of the creative part. And having that team embedded with the clients, then having having that team having direct access to the marketing team, massively empowered myself in the creative team. And it gave us a position, you know, a really, I think unrivalled position to input to the brand, to understand where the prime was going, and to help to develop, you know, I think that that really, that was the critical thing. And I think, you know, possibly possibly, you know, more of the sort of process driven stuff probably should have been outsourced, you know, because because, to be honest, really dead, you don't get any benefit, having that close to the client barely other than a higher level of intervention.
Graham Daldry 36:56
Robert Berkeley 36:57
Rreally interesting. I mean, obviously, I'm not going to talk about my day job but but certainly I'm part of, of companies in house agencies who see that they want to keep the creative close and recognise that sometimes turning those ideas into assets is not cool, necessarily, and is a complicated process to run efficiently. And that's not something we specialise in. But it's very interesting to hear how successful you've been at not just in terms of you personally, Graham and Specsavers. But the campaign has been successful and continues to be and has done great things for Specsavers as a business and enabled them to grow, expand, raise their raise their awareness by having this model of keeping the creative close to to the brand and the message itself.
Graham Daldry 37:38
Yeah, I think so. And I think, you know, my, my little story about the, the agencies customers, is one aspect of that. And I think the other aspect, you know, when we did occasionally have, we didn't use freelancers very often, and certainly not for very long. But when we did have freelancers, they were always amazed at the freedom that we had, you know, as an agency team, to propose things and explore things and, you know, even to some degree to spend money, you know, kind of on projects that, you know, may or may not come to fruition, yeah, we have a lot of freedom to just, you know, have a look and see if something worked and try something out and maybe make a prototype and, and a lot of it was driven by the creatives, you know, it wasn't driven by all the client wants this. So the client was that over time, obviously, a lot of what we did was, but the two things went hand in hand, you know, the teachings were handed out. And I think that there was this culture. We got a culture that was a collaborative creative culture between their creative and marketing teams, you know, and I think that that worked, but it worked. Well, it worked very well.
Robert Berkeley 38:43
It clearly did. There's no question about that. You left Specsavers early last year I believe I did in March in March and you're now a hired gun if other corporations are looking to replicate the success of Specsavers as a consultant. Graham, it's been absolutely fascinating. hearing your story. I really appreciate your time if people listeners want to get hold of you
Graham Daldry 39:04
I really appreciate your time if people listeners want to get hold of you I am on LinkedIn, and I also have a website which is granddaughter.com, which is very easy to remember. So there's a contact in there. You can also watch some Specsavers ads if you went.
Robert Berkeley 39:19
Bbrilliant. Okay, well, I'm sure a lot of people that will beat a path for that, grandma. Once again, thank you so much for sharing your story and Inside Jobsinside jobs. As a pleasure. Thank you for asking. Thanks to you the listener and to grant Audrey formerly of Specsavers for taking the time out to be on the Inside Jobs podcast. This for me has been a fascinating insight into an amazing and very creative life. A big thanks to our fabulous partners that I have specifically Emily Foster, my producer Amy MacNamara making all these things possible and to plan a chapter at EKCS for handling the editing work with such plus. If you've not heard this podcast before, then a very warm Welcome to Inside JobsInside jobs, do take a chance to visit us at our website at ij podcast.com with its ever growing back catalogue of episodes, and do also feel free to link in with me. I'm always up for a chat with anyone who works with in house agencies. So Ddo Ssay Hhello. Thanks for joining us and till the next time.