I’ve been in this industry long enough to remember when so-called ‘rockstar’ creatives were lauded. It always struck me that the singular adulation of these individuals - usually men - was so shortsighted and misplaced. 

After all, any music lover knows no rockstar can achieve any level of fame without their songwriters or musicians. Even the fame of the biggest bands of all time are always a sum of their parts, and never solely down to the one in front of the mic. 

I certainly wouldn’t be where I am today without the many genius people I’ve worked with along the way. And right now, I’m a true believer that the best creative comes  not just creatives but the crew you build. I’m lucky  I am currently thriving because of my wingwoman - Britt Iversen, executive strategy director at Havas.  

Strategists bring a more objective perspective to the work, as well as in-depth insight on cultural and consumer trends. Because they are always future gazing, they are 10 steps ahead, which makes them particularly inspiring sparring partners. 

In times as uncertain, ever-changing and challenging as these, creative partnerships which bring different viewpoints, disciplines and valuable insights are very powerful. As a result, working alongside Britt has impacted me hugely and changed my approach to the work for the better.   

In many places, agencies are still traditionally siloed with each department staying in their lane. God forbid an account person or a strat has a creative idea!  Luckily, that’s not how I work with Britt and that’s not how we work with the rest of the agency. After all, culture is everything and our culture here is one of collaboration, whether with our colleagues or clients, helped by our very strict “no hiring arseholes” policy. 

It may sound hackneyed, but the old adage you should only hire and work with people who are smarter than you is so true, and certainly with Britt. She feeds my intellectual curiosity and blows me away with her thinking and intuition everyday.

Meanwhile, Britt says she hangs off my business smarts, which always makes me laugh, because I think I’m a “cotton-headed ninny-muggins” to quote the iconic Buddy the Elf from our current Asda Christmas campaign.

This despite the fact we are total opposites in many ways. But something magic happens when we get together. Our contrasting characters complement each other, and together, we are more than a sum of our parts. 

We first worked together two years ago, when we discovered a shared love of social impact and daring to think big and our working relationship has gone from strength to strength ever since. 

Hand on heart, the current Asda Buddy the Elf campaign with Will Ferrell would not have come to life had it not been for our partnership. Britt’s strategic mind made sense of this batshit crazy idea and once she had worked her magic, the crazy idea became a common sense idea, and one so good that it has now topped the Christmas effectiveness rankings for TV adverts, with marketing research company System1 hailing it for hitting the nation’s “nostalgia sweet spot” and garnering a “hugely positive” audience response.  

With Britt’s insights and strategic nous and my creative chops, we’ve given the British public a welcome dose of festive nostalgia amid the ongoing cost of living crisis and delivered in spades for our client.

That’s more than genius, that’s wizardry, and brilliantly demonstrates why creatives and strategists make the best partnerships.

Of course, as with every relationship, it’s about reading the other person. I’m a fucking nightmare when I’m tired and Britt goes quiet when she needs to think. But we’ve learnt to read each other’s signals and we share the universal belief there’s nothing that can’t be sorted over a negroni. 

But before you start on the negronis, my advice is, if you want to propagate successful  partnerships and get your agency smashing it out of the park( hopefully) , there are some simple rules I  follow: Break down silos, allow your talent to stray out of their lane, listen more, talk more, mix streams up, and invite creatives to brief taking while bringing along strategists to edits.

In short, and in the spirit of any TRUE rockstar - get the best band around you. Don’t be a dick. It’s not all about you.