In this episode of Add To Cart, we are joined by Michael Beveridge, currently content director at Bailey Nelson and the creative brain behind advertising for brands such as Koala and Good Pair Days. Michael started his career as a junior copywriter before becoming a contestant on Big Brother and then a breakfast radio host before joining then start-up Koala. In this chat, Michael talks about the benefits of an internal creative team vs an agency approach, how to use data to free up creativity and how to stay on top of culture and trends to avoid middle aged bitterness.
“Once you get that creative wanker ego out of you, you just become a really pure ideas person, that’s fed all these wonderfully true numbers that come from the only person that matters, your customer.“Michael Beveridge
Questions answered in this episode include…
- What does a creative director working within a brand actually do?
- What type of company can benefit from having an in-house creative team versus agency?
- What’s the best approach in combining data and creative?
Start ups and fast creative
Going into Koala, they had this notion, led by Charlie Gearside, who is just a legend, to have in-house creative. When you’re in startup world, you need to be hyper agile. You need to be super, super proficient at taking an idea, shooting, iterating, learning, optimizing, cutting, putting it up again, AB testing and what we could do in Koala with the team of Charlie as the sort of head of creative, Matt Rossi, who’s now over at Canva, he was our creative producer, we had a copywriter who was, me originally, videographer, graphic designer and Anika, the brand manager.
We would have got more done in a week that an agency would have been able to, purely by bureaucracy, get done in a month. And that’s not even hyperbole, like I would happily say three days. So that was really appealing to me. I’d come from radio and I didn’t know whether I was willing to go and take a dive into the startup side of things.
But when they explained what was going to happen and how much work we’re going to get done and how closely I’d be working with Tim Doyle, the CMO, in getting things done, like fun billboards, or trying to do a pornhub ad, or ripping on Clive Palmer or just anything fun that happens at Koala, it was ideated, written and then sort of designed the next day as opposed to, hey, can we get the client on the line to talk about what’s the process for getting…he’s done his six billable hours this week. You know what I mean? It doesn’t work when you’re in hyper-growth phase.
Let the data drive you
When we run YouTube at Koala, we would always shoot three intros, right? Just to get past that five, second or six second bumper. Like we would shoot three intros and we would play them all. We’d let it run for a week. And the first five, ten seconds of a YouTube long form is the most important. And then we would just put all the money into that one and shooting maybe 15 campaigns at Koala. How many times do you reckon I got it right as to which one was the better intro?
Just once. And it was so great as a middle-aged white male, creative who, have the reputation of not a good thing at the moment to just go, yo Michael, you don’t know shit. Get rid of your ego and let data drive all of your decisions. You know how to make things funny, but don’t make the decision about what the insight is, let the data drive you.
De-risk your ideas
I always say this is a little hot tip for any creative out there that wants to de-risk their idea. Go see if Betoota have written an article about it and it got lots of comments, because what that does is, I mean, Brown Cardigan is another one too. But if it’s a meme or a post from Betoota, that has popped off, there’s a shared collective insight with that. And so you’ve de-risked the idea of it being relevant. Now you find a way to make that work for your brand.