The Brooklyn Brothers founder and CCO on jumping the fence from planning to creative, changing perceptions through creativity and the value of in-person working
George Bryant is founder and chief creative officer of global agency The Brooklyn Brothers, where he leads what he calls a ‘Make It Up’ team of multi-disciplinary creatives, designers and strategists. With a background in planning and a creative focus, he’s positioned unlike many industry leaders to lead his agency to create ideas that change things for the better. George was one of Campaign’s Creatives of the year in 2020. He’s worked to transform brands as diverse as The Olympics, Orange, Guinness, Tate Modern and the country of Iceland.
Recently The Brooklyn Brothers has put out some noteworthy work with the likes of WaterWipes on its '#Thisisparenthood' campaign - a refreshing and honest reflection of modern parenthood. The agency has also been working with dating app Bumble on the ‘When Bumble Met’ campaign which recently featured Helena Bonham Carter.
LBB’s Alex Reeves caught up with George.
LBB> The earlier part of your advertising career was in planning. How did you end up doing that in the first place?
George> I’ve always been obsessed with what motivates people, so the natural role felt like planning.
LBB> And in that time what are the biggest lessons you learnt that you keep with you?
George> I loved my time as a planner. I ended up being Head of Planning at Chiat Day in LA, an agency I had admired for their culture defining work. There are two schools of planner – analysts and inventors. I always belonged in the latter.
LBB> You later transitioned from the strategy side to the creative side. What were your aims at the time?
George> Over time, I came to realise that the best creators are great strategists. As I found myself working directly with some of the best creatives in the business at Chiat and Mother, I found that I was naturally creating ideas with them.
LBB> And how have your ambitions changed since then?
George> I want to create ideas that matter. We are surrounded by incredible minds and have the privilege of working with clients and their budgets. I see it as our creative responsibility to create ideas that move the world forward. Ideas that earn the respect of audiences and cut through the unbelievable noise of culture.
LBB> Your #Thisisparenthood campaign for WaterWipes recently broke a lot of category stereotypes. What do you think is most interesting about that work?
George> I have a real respect for ideas that challenge outdated assumptions in categories and lift people up. WaterWipes has been an incredible effort by the team and our clients, to bring a new honesty in marketing to parents. Before we launched ThisIsParenthood, the work in the category seemed to gloss over the very real challenges of being a new parent. As a result, it either left parents cold, or worse, reinforced a self-perception that they were failing. The real honesty of ThisIsParenthood has completely reversed this response, with parents reporting they feel seen for the first time and more confident about how they are doing.
LBB> You've recently contributed to a report: 'In Person: Why Coming Together for Work Matters’, commissioned by office experts Landsec on the importance of in person working. Can you tell me about why that's so important to you?
George> As creators, collaboration with others is vital. There are many things that can be done at a distance, but there are times when the energy of collaboration can only be achieved in person. As an agency we have created some of our best work in the last 12 months for clients like FT, Bumble, Tourism New Zealand and WaterWipes, but I’m so keen to see how we can build on that when we find ourselves in shared space again.
We are also blessed with a great office and a great culture, so we are all missing each other. If there is anything that the last year proves, it’s that this stuff matters.